Jelani Day case at 6 months: Still open, Peru chief says

‘No tip is too small’

Peru Police Chief Bob Pyszka, walks down Water Street in Peru during the March for Jelani Day in Peru on Tuesday Oct. 26, 2021.

As the Jelani Day investigation passes the six-month mark, Peru police say the investigation is active and ongoing and remind members of the public the tip line remains open.

Peru Police Chief Bob Pyszka said Friday he has fielded a fresh batch of queries as the case reaches the half-year mark. The case, he said, has by no means been forgotten.

“Peru Police Department and the Jelani Day Joint Task Force are exhaustively pursuing every lead and employing every available tool to ensure that no stone remains unturned,” he said.

This week, he said, Peru and La Salle police, state police, La Salle County Sheriff’s Office and Bloomington police met with Day’s family to provide a case update and “ensure that communication channels remain open.”

“As our investigation continues, we ask the public to contact the task force at 1-800-CALL-FBI with any new information they may have,” Pyszka said. “No tip is too small.”

Also this week, Day’s case inspired an Illinois Senate measure that would amend the state’s Missing Person Identification Act by requiring a coroner or medical examiner in the state to ask the FBI for help if they cannot identify a body within 72 hours.

Day, a graduate student at Illinois State University, was reported missing Aug. 25 after failing to return messages from a professor and family. Subsequent investigation determined Day was last seen the morning of Aug. 24 at a retail establishment near the intersection of Veterans Parkway and General Electric Road in Bloomington.

Law enforcement agencies conducted ground and aerial searches following Day’s disappearance. His body was found Sept. 4 in the Illinois River in Peru, and was identified Sept. 23. The La Salle County Coroner’s Office has said Day’s cause of death was drowning with no signs of struggle, but Peru police have confirmed the investigation continues into how he may have drowned.