Coroner: Grad Student Jelani Day Drowned, but No Manner of Death Determined

Illinois State University grad student Jelani Day died from drowning, the LaSalle County coroner said Monday, but he did not determine a manner of death.

Coroner Richard Ploch said he saw no evidence of injuries “such as manual strangulation, assault or altercation, sharp, blunt, or gunshot injury, infection, tumor, natural disease, congenital abnormality, or significant drug intoxication” and said it was still unclear how Day ended up in the Illinois River, where his body was found on September 4, WHOI reported.

Medical examiners typically attempt to determine the cause and manner of death. Cause of death is the precise cause of a person’s death, such as drowning, gunshot, strangulation, blunt trauma, disease etc. Manner of death is more or less what caused the cause. In the United States, that’s typically natural, homicide, suicide, or accident.

Day, 25, was last seen on security footage at a Bloomington cannabis store on the morning of August 24, as CrimeOnline previously reported. His car was found two days later in Peru, about 60 miles from Bloomington.

Ploch said that multiple agencies are still investigating Day’s death, and there have been multiple calls — including from Day’s family — for federal authorities to take over the investigation.

Earlier this month, after media reports that Day’s body may have been missing organs, his mother contradicted the statements.

“No organs were missing,” Carmen Bolden-Day said, according to WGN. “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.”

A march demanding justice for Day is scheduled for Tuesday, led by the Rev Jesse Jackson Sr. Jackson spoke to Illinois State’s Black Student Union on Monday ahead of the march, according to KPLR. Jackson also attended and spoke at Day’s burial last week.

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[Featured image: Jelani Day /Facebook]