Family continues search for missing ISU student Jelani Day

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — The search continued in Bloomington Wednesday afternoon for a missing Illinois State University graduate student.

Family, friends and complete strangers searched the area near Beyond/Hello Cannabis Dispensary in Bloomington for any whereabouts of Jelani Day, 25, of Bloomington.

Day has been missing since last Tuesday and was reported missing on Wednesday, Aug. 25 from his Bloomington residence.

No one has heard or seen Day since last Tuesday, Aug. 24 when he was videotaped going into the cannabis dispensary off of Veteran’s Parkway in Bloomington.

Carmen Bolden-Day, Jelani’s mother, said according to police, this is where his phone last pinged, and she’s looking for any trace of her son.

“I’m looking for anything that can connect me to him,” Bolden-Day said.

Day’s mom said she’s searching for her son’s blue iPhone 12 Pro Max with no case, a black wallet she described as “worn” and a red Illinois State University keychain with his access key and car keys.

Bolden-Day also said Jelani was known to wear his fraternity Omega Psi Phi bracelet, which she described as purple and gold.

She’s offering a $25,000 reward that leads to the return of her son.

“No amount of money is worth me having if I can’t have him back,” Bolden-Day said.

She said it’s out of character for Jelani to not call or text her or his siblings and described the family’s relationship as “close-knit”.

“I just want to hear him call me and say ‘Mama, I just called you cause I wanted to hear your voice.’ That’s what he did, he’d call just to hear my voice,” Bolden-Day said.

Bolden-Day said she’s praying that her son turns up alive, and can’t wait to see or hear from him.

“Whatever the Devil meant for bad, God is going to turn good because my son is going to come home. This is not going to be an outcome where I will not see my son again,” Bolden-Day said.

The Bloomington Police Department is the lead investigating agency on the case. Public Information Officer John Fermon said right now this is still a missing person case and a rescue, not a recovery operation.

“We’re just trying to locate where he’s at, you know. It’s an unusual case,” Fermon said.

Officer Fermon said any important information has been released to the public and local media. He added detectives are sifting through tips to determine what is of value to the investigation, but said any and all tips or potential leads are critical from the public.

“They’re absolutely vital because then we can call, we can go look over there, we can check into it, check a security camera and say, ‘Hey that is him, and now we’ve got a place that we can start looking, knocking on doors, calling people,”‘ Fermon said.

On the day Day was last seen, he was wearing a blue Detroit Lions baseball cap, a Jimi Hendrix band shirt, and gray athletic shorts.

Courtesy: Bloomington Police Department

The clothing was found days later in the trunk of his car.

Day’s car was recovered in Peru, Illinois on Aug. 27 with no license plates in a wooded area south of the Illinois Valley YMCA and north of the intersection of 12th Street and Westclox Avenue.

According to his mother, Day’s license plate number is CH74067.

Anyone with information regarding Day’s disappearance is urged to call Bloomington Police Department dispatch at (309)-820-8888 or Detective Paul Jones at (309)-434-2548.

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