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Authorities have confirmed a body pulled out of the Illinois River is missing Illinois State University graduate student Jelani "JJ" Day.

The body was discovered floating near the south bank of the Illinois River on September 4, according to authorities.

The body was bloated and his features unrecognizable after being submerged in the water for days.

Jelani's Chrysler 300 was found abandoned in a wooded area, near where the body was recovered.

The family was notified about the body, but police said identification of the remains could take weeks. A backlog of DNA cases delayed the identification process, police said.

The LaSalle County coroner's office made the positive identification through forensic dental records and DNA on Friday, September 17 and announced their findings on Thursday, Sept. 23.

Jelani's cause of death was tentatively ruled a suicide, since the body was recovered near the Illinois Rt. 251 Bridge.

Jelani, who was studying to be a speech pathologist, was last seen on surveillance video at a Bloomington marijuana dispensary on the morning of August 24.

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Bloomington PD

The clothing Jelani wore outside the cannabis store were found neatly folded in his car.

His wallet was discarded about three blocks away from where his car was located, authorities say.

The Day family is heartbroken and demanding answers about how the investigation was conducted.

Jelani's mom, Carmen Bolden Day said it was not like her son to go missing intentionally without telling anyone his whereabouts.

She doesn't accept the tentative ruling of suicide as a cause of death.

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"He wasn't depressed. He didn't have any kind of pressures that would make him want to escape from life," she said. "So I do feel as if there was someone involved."

"His dad actually has cancer and Jelani is the bone marrow match for his dad, and he would never abandon his father like that," she told ABC7 Eyewitness News Wednesday. "He would come here in Chicago and visit him at Northwestern hospital, sit with him, you know, encourage him, pray with him."

Day recalled the last phone conversation she had with her son.

"He said, 'OK momma, I just wanted to hear your voice.' And that's what he did. He said that to me all the time," she told Newsy. "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."

Day's family wrote Thursday on Facebook: "Our hearts are broken. We ask that you continue to pray for our family during what will be very hard days ahead.

"At this moment there are more questions than answers surrounding Jelani's disappearance and death, and that is where we will focus our energy. As of this moment, we do not know what happened to Jelani and we will not stop until we do."

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