SPRINGFIELD — When Illinois State University student Jelani Day went missing, it took two weeks to find his body and another three weeks to identify his remains. This led State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) to champion a law signed Friday to allow county coroners and medical examiners to receive federal assistance in identifying missing persons.


“When we hear pleas from a family for help, we should be using all the tools at our disposal to bring them the support that they need to help find or identify their loved ones,” Sims said. “Unfortunately, some smaller counties and police departments do not have access to the same technology and resources as larger cities, and this law will address that.”

The new law, formerly known as Senate Bill 3932, will require a coroner or medical examiner with custody of human remains that are not identified within 72 hours of discovery to immediately notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation for assistance in identification.

The measure was filed to address the death of Jelani Day, a 25-year-old graduate student at Illinois State University. Day was reported missing on Aug. 24, 2021, discovered on Sept. 4, 2021 and wasn’t identified by the LaSalle County coroner until Sept. 24, 2021.

“When you look at missing person cases, typically the first 72 hours are extremely important," Sims said. “Getting those resources in place can be critical to overall success in solving cases and getting families the help that they need.”

Senate Bill 3932 was signed into law Friday.