PERU – Bloomington Police, Peru Police and the LaSalle County coroner’s office are investigating a body found in the Illinois River on Saturday morning.
The coroner said in a news release acquired from the LaSalle County Sherriff’s Department that it will take from many days to weeks to identify the person found dead along the south bank of the Illinois River east of the Illinois 251 bridge. An investigative autopsy was scheduled for Sunday.
A multiagency team had been scouring the area looking for a missing person, according to the release. That group included Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police, Peru River Rescue, Spring Valley River Rescue, Utica Fire Department, Peru Police, Ottawa River Rescue, and LaSalle County Emergency Management Agency. The State Police Crime Scene Investigations Team responded to the scene once the body was found around 9:47 a.m.
The investigation continues with Peru Police, LaSalle County Coroner, Bloomington Police, and the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Department.
It’s unclear if Saturday’s discovery was connected to missing Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day, who disappeared Aug. 24. His vehicle was found Aug. 26 in a wooded area in Peru, about a mile from where the body was found Saturday.
A Bloomington Police spokesperson said Sunday “we are still looking and investigating the circumstances behind Jelani’s disappearance.”
“Without positive identification of the deceased person, it would be improper to make any preliminary opinions about the body’s identity and the circumstances behind it,” said BPD spokesperson Officer John Fermon. “The LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the deceased person found. We ask that people refrain from speculation as the investigation remains ongoing and could take considerable time.”
Anyone with information regarding Day’s disappearance is asked to contact Bloomington Police Detective BPD Detective Paul Jones at (309) 434-2548 or at Pjones@cityblm.org.
Anyone with information regarding the unidentified deceased person is asked to contact LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Investigator Josh McGrath at 815-434-8376 (desk).