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Police say a woman who was pulled from a submerged car in the Niagara River has died.

Dramatic footage shows a Coast Guard helicopter swimmer bravely pulling the woman from her submerged car as it floated near the edge of the Niagara Falls on Wednesday.

Police first sent a drone to see if anyone was in the car. Then a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter lowered Petty Officer 2nd Class Derrian Duryea down to the car.

Duryea had an axe in case he needed to break the window. He was spinning and swinging past the car but was able to grab onto the passenger side and open the car door.

"Luckily, the car was unlocked and I didn't have to break out any windows and I was able to open up the passenger side door and push it up against the current," he said.

After securing the woman, Duryea signaled to the chopper pilot to pull them up as the water churned around the car about 50 yards away from the falls.

"The current was ripping pretty good through there and the car was close to the edge of the falls. If it moved, we didn't want him getting dragged out with it," flight mechanic Jon Finnerty told Buffalo News.

Investigators say the woman, who was in her 60s, intentionally drove into the water.

"Entry into the water appears to be an intentional act," New York State Park Police Capt. Christopher Rola said in an emailed statement to the Buffalo News.

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Family handout

Autopsy results by a private forensic pathologist sparked rampant rumors of organ harvesting.

Jelani Day, a graduate student from Illinois, was reported missing on August 24. On Sept. 4, his body was pulled from the Illinois River in Peru, not far from where his car was discovered parked in a wooded area.

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Family handout

Local authorities and the FBI reached the same conclusion - Jelani took his own life by drowning.

According to, autopsy findings revealed the corpse was missing multiple organs including his brain, spleen, liver, and eyeballs.

His top and bottom teeth were allegedly removed, his jaw had been "sawed out", and his genitalia was "unidentifiable."

The report also stated that his remaining internal organs were "completely liquefied."

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As "organ harvesting" rumors spread on social media, Jelani's mother, Carmen Bolden Day clarified that two autopsies had been performed on Jelani. One autopsy was performed by the Peru medical examiner, followed by a second independent autopsy by a private pathologist.

The family sought an independent autopsy to confirm their suspicions that Jelani was murdered.

Bolden Day further clarified that her son's organs were removed during the first autopsy and that none of his organs were missing.

"No organs were missing," she said in a statement.

"I do not want to stray off from the facts. There were contradicting facts from the first preliminary autopsy compared to the second independent autopsy, but this is not a case of organ harvesting.

"However, my son did not put himself in a river. My son was murdered and my goal and purpose are to find out what happened and hold those responsible accountable."

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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."

Benzer added:

"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.

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"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.

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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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A body pulled out of a river has been positively identified as missing Illinois State University grad student Jelani "JJ" Day.

Police believe Jelani jumped from the Route 251 Bridge in Peru, not far from where his Chrysler 300 was found abandoned in a wooded area.

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

On Friday, Sept. 17, the medical examiner confirmed Jelani's identity using dental records and DNA tests.

Jelani, a 25-year-old graduate student studying to be a speech pathologist, was reported missing on August 24. His family last heard from him on the evening of Monday, August 23.

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Bloomington PD

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

Police do not suspect foul play in Jelani's death.

The suicide rate among Black males has soared 90% since the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020.

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The community of Hephzibah, Georgia is mourning a mom and her twin sons who died in an apparent murder-suicide.

Richmond County deputies say Shaquia Philpot, 25, drove her car with her 10-month-old twin boys into the Mayor's Pond near the Augusta Regional Airport.

A fisherman spotted the submerged vehicle shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday and alerted authorities. Philpot and her children were pronounced dead at the scene, reports.

Evidence found at the scene points to a murder-suicide and not an accident, deputies say. The family lived about 10 miles from the pond.

Family members were in disbelief at the news that Philpot killed herself and her twins.

"When I found out it was her, I was stuck, and I didn't believe it," said Philpot's stepbrother, Darius Coleman. "To this day, I still don’t believe it."

Coleman said he talked to her three or four days ago, and she was in a good mood laughing and joking.

Family members say she was happy, loving and a wonderful mother to her children.

The bodies were sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for autopsies. Authorities hope the autopsy results will shed light on why the tragedy happened.