‘Private’ meeting between Jelani Day’s family and police as legislation aims for quicker FBI involvement in similar cases

A body found floating near a bridge near LaSalle-Peru on Sept. 4 was identified 20 days later...
A body found floating near a bridge near LaSalle-Peru on Sept. 4 was identified 20 days later as Jelani Day.
Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 8:32 PM CST
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BLOOMINGTON (25 NEWS) - Leaders of the Bloomington Police Department met Thursday with relatives of Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day, while at the same time legislation is moving forward in Springfield that would require quicker FBI involvement in cases similar to Day’s disappearance and death.

Family members said on the “Justice For Jelani Day” Facebook page said the meeting with the police department’s top brass took months to happen, and Day’s relatives were given less than 24 hours notice confirming police would meet with them.

“But, we’re here today ready to fight harder for Jelani,” his family said.

Bloomington Police Public Information Officer John Fermon issued a statement that provided no information what happened at the meeting.

It was a “private meeting between the Bloomington Police Department’s leaders and members of the Day family,” Fermon said in an email to 25 News.

“It’s still an active investigation. Members of the Jelani Day Joint Task Force implore anyone who has any information to contact the FBI Tip line - 1-800-CALL-FBI,” Fermon also said.

Meantime, an Illinois Senate committee is backing legislation inspired by Day’s case. The bill, which goes to the full Senate, would require coroners or medical examiners to notify the FBI within 72 hours when they have human remains that aren’t identified.

Day, who lived in Bloomington and attended ISU, was reported missing last August 24. His body was discovered in the Illinois River September 4, but the LaSalle County Coroner didn’t identify the remains for another 20 days.

“It felt like from the time the student was reported missing, there was no drive to find or identify his remains,” said State Sen. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. who is a Chicago area Democrat.

“I stand with families in frustration, and especially families of color, who have struggled to get fair attention on their cases,” said Sims in a news release.

“No family should ever feel less than equal especially in a time of distress,” Sims also said.

Sims is an ISU graduate.

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