‘I Want Him Home': Mother of Missing ISU Student Calls for Urgency in Son's Case

Jelani Day's family and professor reported him missing on Aug. 25. Two days later, police found his car in the woods 60 miles away in Peru, Illinois

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Carmen Bolden Day wants to know what happened to her son, Jelani Day.

"We all miss him, his friends miss him," Bolden cried. "I just want him back."

The Illinois State University graduate student disappeared at the end of August. No one has seen or heard from him since.

"I miss him. I haven’t talked to him in 29 days," she said. "Never ever in my mind I think I was going to wake up and he would be missing."

Bolden is praying her 25-year-old son is found safe. She is holding onto hope that he is alive.

"I'm believing and trusting in God that my son is going to be okay. I’m believing and trusting in God that I’m going to see Jelani," she said. "I want to be able to talk to him and hug him and make sure he is okay."

Day's family and professor reported him missing on Aug. 25. The morning prior, he was captured on surveillance video going into a dispensary in Bloomington. Two days later, police found his car in the woods 60 miles away in Peru, Illinois. Police said the clothes he was last seen wearing in the surveillance video were found in his white Chrysler 300.

"It’s been 29 days today, I need to know where my son is. I want to find my son," Bolden said. "I need them to use all the resources that I just watch them make available to Gabby Petito and her family."

Police investigating the disappearance of an Illinois State University graduate student are asking the public for tips as the search for the young man continues nearly a month after he vanished.

On Sept. 4, a search team found a body in the Illinois River near Peru. The coroner told Bolden’s family it could take several weeks or months to identify the body because of the condition.

"We’ve given them DNA so they can identify the body," she said. "However what I was told that the crime lab does not have the solution that they need to process the DNA. I’m supposed to find out today if they’re going to be able to get the solution because it’s on back order."

While police continue to investigate, Bolden feels the case has come to a standstill with no sense of urgency to find her son.

“What we want is any factual tip," said John Fermon, a public information officer for the Bloomington Police Department. "Even as simple as, ‘Hey, you know, we saw him walking last month on the quad’ or something. That would be a good tip.”

Bolden said she doesn’t think her son ran away and believes someone may have hurt her son.

"He wasn’t depressed. He didn’t have any kind of pressures that would make him want to escape from life," she explained. "So I do feel as if there was someone involved."

Day graduated from Alabama A&M University with a degree in speech language pathology. Bolden said her son was inspired to go down this career path after seeing a friend struggle. Bolden said she is now doing whatever it takes to speak up for her son.

"I want to speak for my son, I want him home," she said. "I want to do everything in my power to bring him home and I’m not going to stop."

If you know anything about Day’s disappearance you are urged to call the Bloomington Police Department at (309) 434-2548.

This article contains material from the Associated Press.

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