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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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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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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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Police will investigate the death of Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old Black man, who was found hanging from a tree in Southern California early Friday.

Fuller was found hanging in a park in front of Palmdale City Hall in Poncitlán Square around 3:39 a.m.

Authorities initially believed Fuller committed suicide. The body showed no signs of a struggle and the scene was undisturbed, which would have indicated others hoisted his body into the tree.

But Fuller’s sister, Diamond Alexander insisted her brother was not suicidal.

Sheriff's Captain Ron Shaffer said homicide detectives are now investigating the circumstances leading to his death to determine if foul play was involved.

The news comes after police confirmed a second Black man was found hanging from a tree on May 31 in Victorville - about 45 miles east of Palmdale.

San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller said foul play was not suspected in Harsch's death.

Harsch, 38, was found hanging from a tree near the Victorville City Library.

On Saturday, hundreds of protesters gathered under the tree where Fuller's body was found.

After placing a memorial with balloons and flowers, the crowd marched from the park to the sheriff's station. Many carried signs that read "Justice for Robert Fuller."

More than 100,000 people signed an online petition demanding a full investigation into Fuller's death.