Jelani Day's cause of death was drowning, says the coroner.
25-year-old master's student Jelani Day was studying to become a doctor when he disappeared a couple of months ago. A few days after Day was reported missing, his abandoned car was found in a wooded area sixty miles away from his home in Bloomington, Illinois. His body was found floating in the nearby Illinois River several days later, and his remains were identified in September.
Day's cause of death has officially been revealed by the coroner, who claims he passed away from drowning. Still though, it remains unclear how the student ended up in the river in the first place.
"The manner in which Mr. Day went into the Illinois River is currently unknown," added the coroner to their report.
The coroner also stated that because of decomposition and the presence of river predators in the water, the examination of Day's remains was less than optimal. However, there was no sign found of any pre-death injuries, including "manual strangulation, an assault or altercation, sharp, blunt, or gunshot injury, infection, tumor, natural disease, congenital abnormality, or significant drug intoxication."
On Monday, Day's mother, Carmen Bolden Day, argued against the coroner's findings, stating that the report suggests her son did something to himself. "That is a narrative that my son did something to himself. He did not," she said. "Somebody did this to him, and they are going to be held responsible for doing what they did to my son."
The family is working with an independent private forensic pathologist to conduct a second autopsy. Those results have not been released yet.
We will keep you posted as further updates become available.