Jelani Day: Missing Black student's mom wishes he got attention like Gabby Petito

'I’m imploring, pleading, and asking that the police still pay attention and look for my son,' Jelani Day's mother said

                            Jelani Day: Missing Black student's mom wishes he got attention like Gabby Petito
Jelani Day has been missing since August 24 from Illinois State University (Twitter)

The mysterious disappearance and death of 22-year-old travel vlogger Gabby Petito have been the focus of national media as well as the public for the past few weeks. The rapid pace of investigation and rising awareness around the case has been dubbed as 'Missing White Woman Syndrome'. It hints at the categorical media neglect of the Black men or women who have gone missing under similar circumstances in the recent past. Now, a similar concern has been voiced by Carmen Bolden Day, the mother of 25-year-old ISU student Jelani Day who has been missing since August 24, 2021. 

Expressing her displeasure for limited coverage of her son's displeasure, Carmen Day said, "I was very frustrated with the fact that Jelani hadn’t been getting the coverage. Jelani has been missing for 24 days. It appears that help has ceased. I’m imploring, pleading, and asking that the police still pay attention and look for my son.” She cited Gabby Petito's case and added, "Her face is plastered everywhere, and the FBI is involved. And I do not understand why Jelani doesn’t get that same coverage; Jelani doesn’t get that same attention."


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Where is Jelani Day? 

Jelani 'JJ' Day was a medical aspirant who was attending Illinois State University to pursue a Master's degree in Speech Pathology. The 25-year-old would-be-doctor hails from Danville, where his family resides presently. He was last seen on August 24, 2021, according to a faculty member at ISU. Jelani was reported missing after he failed to show up for classes for several consecutive days. His mother asserts that it was not in Jelani's nature to disappear mysteriously like this without informing anyone about his whereabouts. The police report describes Jelani Day's disappearance to have happened under "unexplained suspicious circumstances."

On August 26, Jelani Day's abandoned car (a white 2010 Chrysler 300) was found in a wooded area near Peru, Illinois. It was located around 60 miles north of Bloomington in LaSalle County. "Bloomington and Peru detectives are asking the assistance from Illinois Valley residents that may have seen the vehicle or Jelani or any else operating the vehicle in the area," the police stated in a press release after transporting his car to a secure facility for investigation. 

On August 27, 2021, Bloomington Police released a few photographs of Jelani Day, which are believed to be his last known snaps procured from security camera footage at ISU's Bone Student Center.


In a photograph timed 7:20 am on August 24, Day is seen wearing a blue formal collared shirt, black trousers, black belt, and black dress shoes with his face covered with a blue surgical mask. He has been described as a "Black male, 25 years old, standing 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds. He has short black hair, brown eyes and some facial hair. Day is known to operate a white, 2010 Chrysler 300 (Illinois registration #CH74067)." 

Another surveillance footage of Jelani Day was obtained later which showed him in a blue Detroit Lions baseball hat, a black Jimi "Hendrix" band shirt, standing outside Beyond/Hello, a cannabis dispensary in Bloomington. On September 4, a body was found on the south bank of the Illinois River which is yet to be identified. Speaking about the same, Jelani Day's mother said, "I feel like since this body has been found, and as I said, it’s unidentified, I don’t truly believe it is my son."

Anyone with any information regarding Jelani Day should contact Detective Paul Jones at (309) 434-2548 or at [email protected]

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