Jelani Day’s mother wants FBI involved in missing son’s case

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — An Illinois State University graduate student’s disappearance is gathering national attention after the disappearance and recovery of Gabby Petito.

It’s been nearly a month since anyone has last seen 25-year-old Jelani Day, an ISU graduate student that resides in Bloomington.

Day was last seen on Aug. 24 leaving a retail store in Bloomington, according to the Bloomington Police Department.

On Wednesday, Carmen Bolden-Day, Jelani’s mom, told WMBD she’s been in contact with both Bloomington Police on a regular basis. Bolden also said she received information from Peru Police that clothes matching Jelani’s were found in the area, about a mile from where a body was found in the Illinois River on Sept. 4.

There is nevertheless no identification on the remains found in the river.

Now, Day’s mother Carmen Bolden-Day said she’s been pleading with police to include the FBI in the search for her son.

“When I ask Bloomington Police about getting the FBI involved, what they have told me is, ‘we’re discussing it,’” Bolden said. “I don’t know how long of a discussion you need to have, but ‘discussing’ it is not something I am interested in doing anymore.”

An FBI spokesperson from the FBI Springfield office confirmed to WMBD that discussions between BPD and FBI were in the works, but did not confirm any involvement from the federal agency.

However, Bolden said it’s time for additional resources to be brought in so she at the minimum gets an outcome similar to the FBI’s involvement in the Gabby Petito case.

“I want Jelani to be getting the same coverage, the same attention that Gabbi Petito and her family received so that I could locate him and have him home with me,” Bolden said.

She said she understands the pain Petito’s parents are going by and doesn’t wish this on anyone.

“Going by this is very traumatic, and I don’t wish this on anybody, so I know what Gabby’s mother feels like. I am sitting in the same seat as she,” Bolden said. “But, the difference between me and her (Gabby) mother is she was able to get the help from the FBI and get the resources that she needed to find her daughter. I have not been able to receive any of that.”

Bolden-Day and her family are offering a $25,000 reward.

Bloomington Police detectives are nevertheless asking for credible tips. Those with information can call BPD at 309-820-8888 or Detective Paul Jones at 309-434-2548.

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