Detroit Man Charged With Murder Of Missing Cousin Zion Foster
The Michigan teen was reported missing on Jan. 4, 2022, but it took several weeks before the tragic truth came out.
Zion Foster’s mother was frantic when her daughter didn’t come back to their Detroit home after visiting with her cousin on Jan. 4, 2022. As the days and hours ticked by, Foster’s family became concerned that she was being held against her will or had been the victim of human trafficking. The family reached out to authorities, but police declined to issue a missing person’s report until Jan. 10, almost a whole week after the 17-year-old disappeared.
With police finally listening, the family organized a search of the neighborhood where Foster’s phone had last updated its location, but there was still no sign of her. On January 19, more than two weeks after the teen went missing, the cousin she had been with the night of her disappearance turned himself into the police.
That cousin, then 21-year-old Jaylin Brazier, had been telling Foster’s mother and the authorities that he hadn’t seen her. According to reports, Brazier had even helped the family search for his missing cousin.
Eventually, Brazier admitted a terrible truth — on the night Foster went missing, the pair had been smoking marijuana when Foster fell unconscious and apparently stopped breathing. In a panic, Brazier reportedly tossed his cousin’s body in a dumpster.
While he was not initially charged with her murder, he was charged with lying to investigators and sentenced to 23 months in prison. He was originally scheduled to be released from prison in December 2023, but was released on Jan. 17, 2023, after completing a 90-day program aimed at “changing negative behavior into socially acceptable behavior,” according to Fox 2 in Detroit.
Based on the dumpster where Brazier said he threw Foster’s body, authorities were able to narrow down a section of landfill that they believed was most likely to contain her body, and a four-month search ensued. The search was abandoned in October 2022. At the time, police told reporters that there would be a press conference to discuss their findings, but that conference was never scheduled.
More than a year after her disappearance, on June 13, 2023, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office announced that Brazier, 24, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection to Foster's death.
Foster’s body remains missing.
*This article was originally published on January 24, 2023 and updated on July 21, 2022.