Officials begin second phase of search for Eastpointe teen's remains in Macomb Co. landfill
Authorities this week launched the second phase of the search to find missing Detroit teen Zion Foster's body in Macomb County.
The phase that started Wednesday involves removing portions of the search area at the Pine Tree Acres landfill in Lenox Township and placing them onto two 50-foot by 50-foot decks, the Detroit Police Department said in a statement.
"Searchers will move through the debris placed on the search deck looking for evidence," officials wrote in the release. "Once the debris is cleared, it will be removed. Then another section of the search area will be placed onto the decks to be searched."
The second phase was expected to take five days, the department said Friday.
"Thank you to the city of Detroit General Services Department, all of our partner organizations and all of the searchers involved in this operation," the release stated.
Volunteers signed up from Detroit police and sheriff's offices in Macomb and Washtenaw counties; Michigan Attorney General's Office; Michigan State Police; FBI; Eastpointe and Lenox Township police; and Wayne State Police.
Zion was reported missing on Jan. 5. Police have said they believe the 17-year-old was slain within weeks of her disappearance.
The Eastpointe High School student's body likely was place into a dumpster, which was emptied at the landfill, investigators said.
Preparation for the initiative, dubbed "Operation Zion," began about three weeks ago, when engineers and officers built a road and did other work to ensure the landfill doesn't collapse when the volunteers started sifting through the garbage pile.
During last month's press conference announcing the project, Detroit police Cmdr. Michael McGinnis named Zion's cousin, 23-year-old Jaylin Brazier, as a suspect in her slaying.
Brazier, reportedly the last person seen with Zion before she disappeared, was named as a person of interest in the case in January. The day after he was publicly named as a person of interest, Brazier surrendered to police.
In March, he was convicted of lying to Eastpointe police about the investigation into Zion's disappearance.
Brazier is serving a one- to four-year sentence at the Charles Egeler Reception And Guidance Center in Jackson.
McGinnis said police had submitted a warrant to Wayne County prosecutors seeking murder charges against Brazier.
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller recently said a warrant seeking charges in Zion's case was returned to police for further investigation. She did not specify whether the warrant was for Brazier.