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Jelani Day investigators say they’re combing through video and have searched the river again

Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day went missing Aug. 24. His body was discovered Sept. 4 in Peru, Ill.
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Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day went missing Aug. 24. His body was discovered Sept. 4 in Peru, Ill.
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The LaSalle County sheriff’s office broke its silence Wednesday with a brief update on the status of the Jelani Day investigation.

Investigators are reviewing hundreds of hours of security video related to the case, according to a statement issued Wednesday by LaSalle County Sheriff Adam Diss.

A search of the Illinois River by the Plainfield Fire Department’s dive team was conducted to look for any items pertaining to the case, authorities said. But that search “produced negative results.”

Members of the multijurisdictional unit assigned to the case “meet and continue to follow up on the case daily,” the statement said.

Day was a graduate student at Illinois State University. He went missing Aug. 24. A body was found Sept. 4 in the Illinois River in Peru, Ill., not far from where his car was found in a wooded area. The body was positively identified as Day on Sept. 23, through forensic dental identification and DNA testing.

Authorities have said very little publicly about the case since Sept. 23, including whether foul play is suspected. Day's mother, Carmen Bolden Day, spoke Wednesday on The 21st show, which airs weekdays on WGLT.

Day’s cause of death has not been determined. LaSalle County Coroner Rich Ploch told WGLT on Tuesday they’re still awaiting the toxicology report and the histology report (study of tissues) from analysts. He said they’ll hopefully receive those this week.

“That final cause-of-death autopsy report will be hinged upon some of these, you know, toxicology, histology results, as well as if we have enough available investigative information from the police agencies, as to why, you know, Jelani Day came to be in the water,” Ploch said. “So once we have all those pieces in play, then we should be able to release the autopsy report, and possibly prior to that. But I know that their police agencies are diligently working that case around the clock to find out why that happened.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the sheriff's office at (815) 433-2161.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.