The family of a man who was found dead under questionable circumstances after going missing in Illinois said they “suspect foul play” and broke their silence in a desperate effort to get answers about his death.
Jelani Day‘s mother on Tuesday posted a statement on her Facebook page attributed to her children that addresses the conflicting reports about her son, including how his body was allegedly found missing some of his vital organs as well as his jaw, which was reportedly “sawed out.”
It had previously been reported that Hallie M. Bezner, an attorney for Day’s mother, said local police treated the grieving mother disrespectfully when they called her with the “good news” last month that they were identifying her son’s body. Citing Day’s mother and Bezner, the Chicago Sun-Times also reported that the “family’s private forensic pathologist” didn’t find a brain, liver or spleen, among other organs, in Day’s body during a second autopsy.
Now, the family has ordered a third autopsy to find out “who murdered our brother.”
The statement from Carmen Boden Day’s children came one day after their mother said in a different Facebook post that “no organs were missing” from her son’s body. She referenced “contradicting facts from the first preliminary autopsy compared to the second independent autopsy” and stated that she was not aware of this being “a case of organ harvesting.”
The statement on Tuesday from Carmen Boden Day‘s children slightly contradicted what their mother said on Monday and made sure to emphasize, “WE ARE NOT taking organ harvesting off the table but still our mothers [sic] wishes are not to make organ harvesting the main focus.”
They addressed the discrepancy regarding Day’s organs:
Per the second autopsy, the Pathologist didn’t have all the body parts/organs for the body they identified as our brother Jelani Day. Also According to the second autopsy the pathologist was confused as to why the first pathologist did what he did to our brothers body to perform the autopsy itself. Furthermore, the second pathologist was confused as to why he didn’t have the whole body and we are under the impression that the state lab still has body parts in their possession. Also there are major organs that are damaged or in their words “mush & liquefied”.
They also explained that a funeral for Day has been delayed because of this uncertainty and “numerous amounts of conflicting information from the 1st and 2nd autopsy.”
LaSalle County Coroner Richard Ploch said on Tuesday that Day’s cause of death had still not yet been determined. Ploch, who denied organs were missing, shifted the burden to police and called on them “to help with the big piece on how he came to be in the water,” according to NBC Chicago.
Like their mother, the children said local authorities have failed the family and called for federal law enforcement officials to get involved.
“Due to the distrust this is why we suspect foul play of the La Salle county coroner, La Salle sheriff office, La Salle PD, Peru PD and Bloomington PD,” the statement said. “For these reasons this is why we want/need the FBI Involved as well.”
Read their full statement below.
Day, a 25-year-old Illinois State University graduate student, 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 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. Day’s mother had been all but 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.
Even after Day’s body had been identified, Bolden was not immediately allowed to view the body.
Bolden Day 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.
After she naturally had more questions concerning the coroner’s office’s process and why it took so long for her son 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.
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.
Meanwhile, it remains unclear how Day ended up in the river in the first place as the FBI continues to investigate Petito’s murder.
This is America.