CHICAGO (CBS) — A body found in the Illinois River near Peru earlier this month has been identified as Illinois State University student Jelani Day, who has been missing since late August, and police said his death is “very suspicious.”
On Sept. 4, searchers found a body in the Illinois River near the Route 251 Bridge in the central Illinois city of Peru, not far from where Day’s car was found more than a week earlier. On Friday, authorities confirmed dental records and DNA tests had identified the body as Day’s.READ MORE: Kenosha County Sheriff's Deputy Shoots Chicago Homicide Suspect At Bristol Gas Station; Suspect Shot Police K-9 During Confrontation
The cause of death is still unknown, and police have not said specifically if they believe it was a homicide, but Bloomington Police Officer John Fermon on Thursday called the death “very suspicious.”
Day was last seen in a Bloomington cannabis dispensary on Aug. 24 near the Illinois State University campus. His abandoned car was found two days later in a wooded area near the Illinois Valley YMCA in Peru, located about 60 miles north of Bloomington in LaSalle County. The YMCA is about two miles from the Illinois River.READ MORE: Milixen Ardon And Wilfredo Cruz Charged With Murder Of 2-Year-Old Alisson Zelayz, Who Suffered Burns And Bruises In Chicago Lawn
Fermon said a death investigation is ongoing, and declined to say whether police have determined why Day was in Peru, or any of the circumstances surrounding his death.
“Our investigation’s not complete, and I know the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office investigation is not complete,” he said. “We can all agree that it was very suspicious, unlike him. It’s just one of those of is it foul play or not. And that’s kind of what the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office is their man focus, is is it a homicide investigation, or is it a death investigation, and over time that’s where we’re going to get that answer.”MORE NEWS: Two Chicago Police Officers Wounded By Accidental Friendly Fire While Confronting Suspect In Lyons, Police Say
Fermon also declined to say if investigators found any evidence in Day’s car leading them to believe there was someone in his car with him when he was in Peru.