Jelani Day’s mother hopes her son sparks a change

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DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — “I just wish things were different from the beginning,” Carmen Bolden Day, Jelani’s mother, said.

She’s grieving her son’s death and planning his celebration of life all while trying to figure out what happened to him. Police are still investigating the death of ISU graduate student, Jelani Day. His body was identified last week ending his family’s heartbreaking search for him. Tonight, his mother sat down with us.

Carmen Bolden Day hired a private investigator. She said the investigator is doing the best he can with what he has to work with. In the meantime, she wants to honor her son.

“Jelani was a people person. He was not somebody that was hard to love,” Bolden Day said.

Carmen Bolden Day is a mother grieving the loss of her son.

“I won’t get to see him get his white coat and become officially Doctor Jelani Day,” Bolden Day said.

25- year old Jelani Day was last seen August 24th in Bloomington. His family reported him missing the next day. On September 4th, a body was found in the Illinois River in LaSalle County. Then on September 23rd, the LaSalle County Coroner identified the body as Jelani Day. The coroner says the cause of death is unknown and pending further investigation and toxicology testing. The Day family wants answers.

“My only goal now is to find out what happened to Jelani and get justice for Jelani,” Bolden Day said.

While they work toward that goal, Bolden Day will finally get to give a proper send off to her son.

“It will not be your stereotypical funeral so to say,” Bolden Day said. “This is going to be a celebration of Jelani’s life. Things that Jelani would’ve loved.”

She’s also thankful that her son has touched so many people.

“We have been honored and blessed that people have embraced Jelani, that have never met Jelani,” Bolden Day said.

She not only wants answers about what happened, she wants him to make an even bigger impact.

“His life impacted many when he was here,” Bolden Day said. “He’s going to impact millions in his absence.”

While she’s heartbroken about what happened to her boy, she hopes Jelani Day can help others.

“Jelani is going to make a change,” Bolden Day said. “I want to bring awareness to finding people of color that are missing. We are all humans. We are all people. It shouldn’t matter if you’re black or white for anybody to help you. It should just be because you breathe air just like I do and you are somebody to your family just like he’s somebody to us.”

The celebration of life will be happening October 9th in Danville. The family has not finished working out the details, but Bolden Day said the rapper, Offset, will be paying for Day’s funeral expenses.

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