The body of Jelani Day was found missing several vital organs. His family ordered a second autopsy but precisely what happened to him remains a mystery.
The Chicago Sun-Times, in part two of a trilogy on Jelani, spoke with his mother about the process she endured to get an identification of her son’s body.
Carmen Bolden Day reported her son missing on Aug. 25, and almost a month later, she received a phone call from the LaSalle County coroner’s office telling her they had “good news.” The news was that they were prepared to make an identification possibly.
The grieving mother was confused by this news. Weeks earlier, she had submitted to a DNA collection. The coroner also took pieces of the corpse’s tibia bones for DNA analysis, and she had contacted the coroner to provide Jelani’s dental records. He never returned her message.
Therefore, when she received a call saying “new” dental records had possibly identified her son, she was taken aback and asked questions to help her understand.
“Do you want us to identify your son or not,” the LaSalle County coroner responded to Day. Her attorney, who was on the line, interjected, checking the man for how he spoke to Jelani’s mother.
The coroner’s office positively identified Jelani and sent a press release to the media the next day.
By the time Day was able to see what remained of Jelani, it was such a horrifying sight that her attorney advised against viewing him. His body was found in a body of water, so some decaying had taken place. However, the private forensic pathologist the family hired for a second autopsy discovered something even more troublesome.
While his missing eyeballs and teeth could have been attributed to waterlogging, there was no brain, liver and spleen. There were no organs at all. They also determined Jelani’s jaw had been sawed off.
According to a report from the LaSalle County coroner, Jelani’s organs were completely liquified. The reports also said that the body had numerous bites and maggots. However, they have not released the autopsy to Day nor her attorney yet.
The private pathologist found that Jelani’s genitalia was unidentifiable, but the county coroner reported that they were “flayed.” Flayed is another way of saying that they were skinned.
Sadly, only Jelani’s grandmother and one of his brothers viewed his remains. This has left his mother still wondering if the body identified as her son is really him.
Day, amid her grief, is still on the path of figuring out the mystery of her child’s disappearance and death.
A celebration of life service was held for Jelani on Oct. 9 in Danville.