Carmen Day, the mother of late Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day, is demanding that the FBI take over the investigation into her son’s death.
Carmen, who was joined by Rev. Jesse Jackson and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, spoke at the Rainbow Push Coalition’s headquarters in Chicago and criticized Puru, Illinois police—who she thinks didn’t do enough to help find her son.
“I’m asking you. I’m imploring you. I’m begging you. I need to know what happened to my son,” she said. “I need the FBI to come in and take over. … They need to make Jelani a priority.”
LaSalle County Coroner Richard Ploch previously shared that he believes Jelani’s death was caused by drowning, and that “there was no evidence of any [pre-death] injury, such as manual strangulation, an assault or altercation, sharp, blunt, or gunshot injury, infection, tumor, natural disease, congenital abnormality, or significant drug intoxication” after he was found in the Illinois river on Sept. 4.
The manner of Day’s death is still unknown and Jelani’s mother previously shared that the statement pushed a “narrative that my son did something to himself.”
“We are asking the FBI to make this young, Black man named Jelani Day a priority just like they did the young white woman, Gabby Petito, because his life matters just like hers,” Crump said.
The attorney added that “we are very clear in our declaration that this was not suicide,” looking at the fact that Jelani’s belongings were found away from where his remains were discovered and in different areas.
“I’m asking you,” Day said. “I’m imploring you. I’m begging you. I need to know what happened to my son.”