Jelani Day's former fraternity as well as his mother are calling for federal authorities to take over the investigation into the 25-year-old's death.
Day, a graduate student at Illinois State University, went missing in late August. His last known location was at a store in Bloomington, about two miles from his school. Last month, his body was found floating in the Illinois River last month, according to authorities. The cause and manner of his death are still not known.
The Nu Epsilon chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity at Alabama A&M University started a petition Thursday and included a letter they wrote to federal and state authorities expressing concern over the Bloomington Police Department's handling of the case.
Day graduated from the school with a bachelor's degree in 2018 and was a member of the fraternity, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
"The Bloomington Police Department is currently leading the investigation, but our extreme concern is that this agency has shown the inability to handle a case of this nature," stated a letter included in the petition. "Jelani is loved and represents the absolute best of our beloved fraternity; therefore, bringing those responsible for this heinous act to justice is not a request but a demand."
"The person(s) responsible for Jelani's death is now walking our community free, and we will not rest until those responsible are brought to justice," the letter continued.
More than 27,000 people had signed the petition as of Saturday afternoon.
Day's mother, Carmen Bolden Day, shared the petition on her Facebook page. Bolden Day, who goes by the name Larae Sunshine Bolden on the social media site, encouraged others to sign. "We need answers!! We DEMAND answers," she wrote.
The Bloomington Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday. Multiple agencies are assisting Bloomington police including the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, the Peru Police Department, the LaSalle County Sheriff's Office, the LaSalle Police Department, and Illinois State Police.
Day was a first-semester graduate student in the communication sciences and disorders department at Illinois State University in Normal. He was studying speech pathology.
He was last seen on campus Aug. 24, and his last known location was at Beyond/Hello cannabis dispensary in Bloomington, law enforcement officials have said. Two days after his disappearance, his car was found roughly an hour north in Peru.
Since his death, reports have surfaced that some of Day's organs were missing. LaSalle County Coroner Richard Ploch told NBC Chicago those reports are inaccurate and that "some [organs] were severely decomposed due to the body being in the water," but none were missing.
Very little information on the case has been released by law enforcement. The LaSalle County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Wednesday that investigators are reviewing "hundreds of hours of security video." A search of the Illinois River was recently conducted to look for any items related to the case, but nothing was found.