An attorney for Jelani Day’s family rejects the police theory that the 25-year-old graduate student killed himself.
Jelani’s body was discovered floating near the south bank of the Illinois River in Peru, on September 4.
The aspiring doctor was last seen outside a marijuana dispensary on August 24. His car was located in Peru 2 days later on August 26. Inside the car were the clothing he wore in the surveillance video outside the dispensary. There was no evidence of foul play inside the car.
His car was found in a wooded area near the Route 251 Bridge, not far from where his body was recovered. The license plates were missing from the car. His wallet was discarded about three blocks away.
Detectives in Peru have concluded that Jelani killed himself based on the evidence.
While investigators have not released an official cause of death, an attorney for the family claims to know what happened to him.
Lawyer Hallie Benzer tells Newsy the evidence suggests “Jelani did not end up in that river willingly.”
“I speak for the family when I say that we are confident someone did something to Jelani. We don’t know who that person is, we don’t know what they did, but we feel very strongly, and the evidence points to someone else being involved in this.”
Benzer did not share any evidence with Newsy.
Jelani’s mother, Carmen Bolden Day, also believes her son met with foul play.
“They didn’t look for him,” she said, while fighting back tears in a recent interview. “They wanted to create – and they still want to create this narrative that he did something to himself.”
Meanwhile, detectives in Peru appealed to the public to help identify a suspicious man seen in surveillance video knocking on a door in LaSalle, near Peru.
The homeowner shared the video footage with police, believing it could be Jelani.
The family reviewed the video and say it is not him.
Watch Bolden Day’s interview below.