Detroit Police Chief James White addresses those gathered at a press conference Thursday, May 12, at the Lenox Township Community Center to announce Operation Justice for Zion.

Detroit Police Chief James White addresses those gathered at a press conference Thursday, May 12, at the Lenox Township Community Center to announce Operation Justice for Zion.

Photos by Brian Wells


Officials announce new efforts to find Zion Foster’s remains

By: Brian Wells | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 12, 2022

 Ciera Milton, Zion Foster's mother, gets emotional while making remarks during a press conference to announce Operation Justice for Zion May 12 at the Lenox Township Community Center.

Ciera Milton, Zion Foster's mother, gets emotional while making remarks during a press conference to announce Operation Justice for Zion May 12 at the Lenox Township Community Center.

 Ciera Milton, Zion Foster's mother, is comforted by a family member after making remarks during the press conference.

Ciera Milton, Zion Foster's mother, is comforted by a family member after making remarks during the press conference.

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LENOX TOWNSHIP — More than four months after Zion Foster’s disappearance, her mother still doesn’t have the answers to her questions about what happened.

“I want to know what happened to my baby,” Foster’s mother, Ciera Milton, said at a press conference May 12 at the Lenox Township Community Center.

Foster, 17, of Eastpointe, was last seen Jan. 4, when she left home to hang out with her cousin, Jaylin Brazier, 23, of Detroit. When she didn’t return home, her mother filed a missing persons report.

Brazier was named as a person of interest in her disappearance. He turned himself in to police on Jan. 19, and on Jan. 22, Eastpointe police said he would be charged with lying to investigators.

Brazier said in court that while they were together, Foster died. Acting out of panic, he said, he put her body in a dumpster. He was sentenced in March to 23 months to four years in prison after pleading no contest to the charge of lying to a peace officer in a violent crime investigation.

Now, months later, officials gathered May 12 to announce Justice for Zion, a recovery operation aimed at finding her body. The effort is being led by the Detroit Police Department, which took over the search from the Eastpointe Police Department in January.

“We’re announcing this collaborative effort to help bring closure to this family,” Detroit Police Chief James White said.

Officials are expected to soon begin searching the Lenox Township landfill where they believe Foster’s body to be.

“Bear with me, as a father and having to say these words is just very difficult,” White said. “We will be beginning a search for her remains at a nearby landfill.”

The search couldn’t be done any sooner due to a risk assessment, White said.

The operators of the landfill have been cooperative in the investigation, White said. Once they learned where Foster’s body could be, they stopped dumping in that area.

“Once we became aware of that information, we contacted the landfill, who’s been incredibly helpful,” Detroit Police Major Crimes Cmdr. Michael McGinnis said. “It’s important to note that at that point, their operations had no negative impact on the future mission that we’re about to go do.”

At the press conference, McGinnis gave an overview of the situation but was sparse on details, citing the ongoing investigation. However, he told people in attendance that if they heard the details, “You would all be as disgusted as we are with this case.”

McGinnis said the department had submitted a warrant to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, which was being reviewed.

“We are confident that Mr. Brazier was responsible for the death of Zion,” he said.

When asked if the discovery of the body could lead to charges against Brazier, White said that even though there were a number of different factors to take into consideration, it would be the easiest way to get the charges authorized.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said Macomb County was committed to providing whatever resources might be needed in the search. Lenox Township is in northern Macomb County.

“I just want to make sure I recommit our willingness to cooperate and work with (White) here in Macomb County, with whatever you need in your system throughout this remaining portion of this investigation,” he said. 

Detroit Police Sgt. Shannon Jones said a team of 70 people are to begin the search within the next few weeks. The search is expected to take between seven and eight weeks to complete.

“My heart breaks for this family,” White said. “I wish I could give Zion’s mom good news, but again, we know that that’s not the case.”

Contact Staff Writer Brian Wells at (248) 291-7637 or bwells@candgnews.com.

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