Jelani "J.J." Day, a 25-year-old graduate student at Illinois State University, has been missing since August 24.
His family last heard from him on the evening of Monday, August 23, 2021.
Jelani's mother is desperate for answers. "I can't even describe it to you, because it hurts really bad because I don't know where my baby is."
Carmen Bolden Day reported Jelani missing after he failed to show up for classes at ISU. She said she last heard from him on Aug. 23.
"He told me he was going to class and that he would call me later. He called me later on that night. (He) didn’t want nothing, we were just talking. And he said again, 'OK momma, I'll talk to you later. I just wanted to hear your voice.' And that was our last conversation, on Monday the 23rd."
She said Jelani was studying to be a doctor.
Security footage showed Jelani wearing a black Jimi Hendrix Band T-shirt outside a cannabis store in Bloomington around 9:12 a.m. on August 24.
The Bloomington Police Department revealed they have no leads after his Chrysler 300 was found abandoned about 60 miles away in a wooded area near a YMCA.
The clothing Jelani wore outside the cannabis store were found in his car.
A man's body was pulled out of the Illinois River on Sept. 4 in LaSalle County, according to WMBD. Police don't believe the case is linked to Jelani.
The Day family is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to Jelani's whereabouts.
Jelani's sisters, Dacara Bolden and Zena, created a GoFundMe account to raise the reward money.
Nearly $16,000 has been raised of a $1 goal.
"I miss laughing with him," Zena told WAND News.
"Jelani is the one I could tell jokes to, like any joke. It can be anything. It could be a part of a movie. It can just be. We don't even have to talk. We got it. We can already know whats gonna make each other laugh."
"Everything's been hard, but the hardest part is just missing his presence. He's just not there," said Dacara.