For nearly 3 years now, Carmen Bolden Day has been using her strength and resolve on almost a daily basis. Carmen has been working hard this entire time to figure out what happened to her son. Her son, Jelani Day, was a graduate student at Illinois State University. The young man was studying speech pathology and was looking forward to a promising future. Then, he disappeared.
Jelani was last seen on campus on August 24, 2021. The next day, Carmen called her son. Typically, when she would call her son, she would always hear from him. Even if he couldn’t answer the phone, he would text his mom telling her that he was going to call her back. But on this day, she didn’t hear a word from him. That is when Carmen immediately began to worry.
During the police investigation, they were able to find a sighting of Jelani on surveillance video. He was seen waiting in line at a marijuana dispensary in Bloomington, Illinois. Continuing with their investigation, the police were able to find Jelani’s car the next day. It was found in a wooded area 60 miles away from the college campus. Scattered throughout the area were several personal items that belonged to Jelani.
Then, almost 2 weeks after Jelani Day went missing, the police found a body. A body was seen floating in the Illinois River, not too far from where his car was found. An autopsy was done on the body. The coroner ruled his cause of death a drowning. The police believe that his death was the result of a suicide. Carmen disagrees. She believes that her son was murdered.
"It's foul play. Absolutely. And somebody's covering up something for somebody, because none of this makes sense," she said.
With regard to the belief that there is a coverup, Carmen has been very vocal about her reasons for feeling that way. For starters, the FBI has been in possession of Jelani’s phone this entire time. They claim, though, that they can’t unlock it. The police also told Carmen that they can use the GPS in his car to find out where it had been that day. Unfortunately, they claim that the car is on a lengthy backlog in Quantico.
The police have formed what they call the Jelani Day Taskforce which remains active to this day. They are offering a $10,000 reward for information illuminating the final hours of Jelani Day. His mother continues to fight for him as well. "I love him," she said. "I want him to know I'm not going to let people forget about him. I'm going to find out what happened to him."