Jelani Day’s organs weren’t harvested, mother says, clarifying news report


PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The mother of a slain Illinois college student is clarifying a report in the Chicago Sun-Times that revealed graphic details about the condition of his body.

In September, Jelani Day’s body was found in the Illinois River in Peru, Illinois, before it was identified nearly three weeks later.

The Sun-Times article said Day’s body was found without eyeballs, and said his jaw had been “sawed off.”

The Sun-Times also stated the family’s private forensic pathologist could not find a brain or other organs, including Day’s liver or spleen. Bezner said the LaSalle County Coroner’s Office’s pathology report explained that the organs were “completely liquefied.”

The report by the Chicago Sun-Times received lots of social media reactions, with many people calling for justice and some questioning exactly what happened to Day.

But Day’s mother, Carmen Bolden-Day, said in a statement that the family does not believe the organs were stolen.

“No organs were missing. 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.”


NewsNation affiliate WMBD contacted the LaSalle County Coroner’s Office about the Sun-Times report, but has not heard back.

Day was reported missing Aug. 25, and his car was found in a wooded area in Peru the next day, but he was not inside.

The Bloomington Police Department said the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to lead the investigation into Day’s death, which they said is ongoing.

WMBD also reached out to Carmen Bolden-Day for further comment and is waiting to hear back.

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