Coroner IDs body as missing Illinois State graduate student Jelani Day

Jelani Day (Photo Provided By Family via CNN)

 (CNN) — The coroner of LaSalle County, Illinois, on Thursday identified a body found earlier this month as missing graduate student Jelani Day.

The LaSalle County Coroner confirmed Day’s identity through forensic dental identification and DNA testing and comparison, the office said in a news release shared by the Bloomington Police Department. The cause of death remains unknown, the release said, pending further investigation.

Day, 25, was a graduate student at Illinois State University whose mother said he aspired to become a speech pathologist. He reported missing on Aug. 25 in Bloomington, Illinois.

Day’s mother had spoken out in recent days, pleading for more help finding Jelani after the massive wave of interest sparked in the case of Gabby Petito, which has highlighted the disparities between cases like Petito’s and those involving Black and brown missing persons.

Carmen Bolden Day told HLN Petito’s case is important, too, adding she understands the position Petito’s mother is in. But Day’s case “did not get that involvement,” she said. “I didn’t get that attention.”

Day was last seen Aug. 24, and his vehicle was located in Peru, Illinois, a couple days later on Aug. 26.

After an initial search on Aug. 26, members of the Illinois Search and Rescue Council conducted another search in the LaSalle-Peru area on Sept. 4, at which point Day’s body was found in the Illinois River.