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‘Jelani Day’ missing persons bill signed into law

Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day went missing Aug. 24. His body was discovered Sept. 4 in Peru, Ill.

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker has signed the “Jelani Day” bill into law, amending the Missing Persons Identification Act in hopes of preventing a repeat of what the Day family experienced last year.

When Jelani Day went missing, his body was not found for nearly two weeks. Once found, Day’s remains went unidentified for three more weeks.

State Sen. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, says the process should not take so long, and sponsored a bill to address that. The act requires medical examiners and coroners to contact the FBI if a body remains unidentified after 72 hours, at which point the FBI would work with the Illinois State Police.

The bill passed the Senate 43 to 4 with bipartisan support including Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington. The bill passed unanimously through the House of Representatives.

Gov. Pritzker signed it into law May 13.

Sims said he hopes the legislative reinforcement will help police and coroners find out sooner how and why a missing person died, and therefore bring closure to the family and the community.

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who comes forward with information on Jelani Day’s death.

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Illinois Newsroom gets stories from public radio stations from across the state, including WBEZ-Chicago, WCBU-Peoria, WGLT-Normal, WVIK-Rock Island, WIUM-Macomb, WNIJ-DeKalb, WSIU-Carbondale, WUIS-Springfield, and St. Louis Public Radio.

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