Search of landfill for missing Eastpointe teen enters new phase

By: Brian Wells | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published June 22, 2022

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EASTPOINTE — The search of a Lenox Township landfill for the body of a missing Eastpointe teenager has entered its second phase.

The search for the body of Zion Foster, 17, entered its second phase June 15. According to a press release from the Detroit Police Department, phase two involves removing sections of the search area and placing them onto two 50-by-50-foot search decks, where searchers will move through the debris to look for evidence.

Phase two was expected to take approximately five days.

The search of the Pine Tree Acres Landfill was announced more than four months after Foster disappeared. On Jan. 4, Foster left home to spend time with her cousin, Jaylin Brazier. When she didn’t return home, her mother filed a missing persons report.

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

Brazier, in court for his sentencing March 31, said that while he and Foster were together, Foster died. He acted out of panic after that, he said, and it is alleged that he put her body in a dumpster.

He was sentenced 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. At a May 12 press conference, Detroit Police Major Crimes Cmdr. Michael McGinnis said the department had sent a warrant request to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, which was reviewing the request.

When asked at the May 12 press conference if the discovery of a body could lead to charges against Brazier, Detroit Police Chief James 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.

The effort to recover Foster’s body is being led by the Detroit Police Department, which took over the search from the Eastpointe Police Department in mid-January. The recovery effort was announced at a press conference May 12 and began May 31.

“Bear with me, as a father and having to say these words is just very difficult,” White said at the May 12 press conference. “We will be beginning a search for her remains at a nearby landfill.”

The first phase of the search required heavy equipment to remove 20 feet of material above a 100-by-100-foot area. At a press conference held June 3, police announced that searchers found a piece of mail with a Detroit address that indicated to them that the search is taking place in the correct area.