UPDATED: 6:30 p.m. ET, Oct. 12
Jelani Day‘s mother and her children have offered conflicting reports about whether the 25-year-old missing grad student’s body was found missing some of his vital organs. His mother said in a Facebook post on Monday that “no organs were missing.” That was one day after her lawyer told the opposite to the Chicago Sun Times.
On Tuesday, Day’s siblings released their own statement via their mother’s Facebook page and confirmed that “the Pathologist didn’t have all the body parts/organs for the body they identified as our brother Jelani Day” after a second autopsy. They said the family was ordering a third autopsy and called for federal law enforcment to get involved.
Carmen Bolden Day has seemingly endured more unnecessary suffering, uncertainty and callous treatment than any mother who has lost her child.
It was bad enough that the body of her son, 25-year-old Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day, wasn’t found off the south bank of the Illinois River until 10 days after he was first reported missing on Aug. 25, and nine days after his car was found in a wooded area in the town of Peru. It was bad enough that it wasn’t until weeks later, and nearly a month since he was reported missing, that Day’s body could actually be identified by the LaSalle County Coroner’s Office. It was bad enough that, while all this was going on, Day’s mother had been basically begging the media to pay her son’s story the same attention that it had paid to Gabby Petito, and she’d been concerned that the authorities had been dragging their feet investigating her son’s disappearance.
But it turns out that even after Day’s body had been identified, Bolden was not immediately allowed to view the body, which she discovered was missing virtually all its vital organs after a second autopsy was performed at the family’s request. Bolden’s attorney, Hallie M. Bezner, also said that the grieving mother had been treated with a gross lack of empathy by the first coroner when she had been informed that a positive ID of her son was underway.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Bolden recalled being on the phone with Bezner on Sept. 22 when the unidentified coroner called her on the other line to give her the “good news” that her son’s body was soon to be identified.
Suffice to say, no grieving mother would take the definitive news that her son is dead as “good news.” But what makes matters worse is that after she naturally had more questions concerning the coroner’s office’s process and why it took so long for Day to be identified, the coroner reportedly got frustrated and was egregiously rude in asking her, “Do you want us to identify your son or not?”
Bezner said she was on the line at the time and she rightfully told the coroner he had “no f**king right” to speak to Bolden that way.
A day later, the coroner’s office announced Day had finally been identified, but Bolden said she was informed she would still have to wait to view the body, which was waterlogged to the point where it was missing Day’s eyeballs.
The Sun-Times reported that the “family’s private forensic pathologist could find no brain, according to Day and her attorney. No organs. Neither liver. Nor spleen.” The second autopsy also determined that Day’s jawbone had been “sawed out.”
Bezner said the LaSalle County coroner had explained that the organs were missing because they “completely liquefied.”
“I’m really trying to ask questions and not go down the path of a lot of conspiracy because I think it’s easy to go that way,” Bezner said.
On Sept. 29, Day’s family had gathered at the funeral home where Bolden was finally able to view her son’s body, but her attorney advised against it since he was in such “bad shape.” In the end, Day’s grandmother and one of his brothers were the only ones in the family to see his body. Bolden still isn’t absolutely sure it was her son who was lying in the closed casket, according to the Sun-Times.
Mind you, we still have no idea how Day ended up in the river in the first place.