DETROIT (TCD) — A 24-year-old man stands accused of killing his 17-year-old cousin, who has been missing since January 2022.
Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney Kym Worthy announced Tuesday, June 13, that her office charged Jaylin Brazier with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in connection with Zion Foster’s disappearance and death.
On Jan. 4, 2022, Foster left her home with her cousin, Brazier, and never returned home. Her mother reported her missing to the Eastpointe Police Department the next day. Eastpointe Police reportedly issued a missing person alert for Foster several days later, and investigators determined she was likely dead.
On Jan. 19, 2022, Detroit Police identified Brazier as a person of interest, and he turned himself in. According to WDIV-TV, he initially withheld information about Foster’s whereabouts but later admitted that he and Foster were smoking marijuana when Foster stopped breathing suddenly, and he placed her body in a dumpster.
Foster’s mother reportedly told the court that Brazier also lied to her and said he hadn’t seen or heard from Foster in a long time. Brazier even allegedly helped in the search effort to find Foster.
In court, Brazier said, “Yes, I lied, but I was not in the right state of mind. There was no way for me to prepare for a situation like that. I was scared,” WDIV reports.
Police excavated a landfill in an attempt to locate Foster’s body but were unsuccessful.
In March 2022, Brazier was convicted of lying to police and was sentenced to 23 months to four years in prison, WDIV reports. However, he was reportedly released in January after accepting a plea deal.
According to WDIV, Brazier was taken into custody again on the new charges Tuesday, June 13, and is scheduled to appear in court for a probable cause conference July 3. He remains held without bond.
Foster’s body still has not been located.
In a statement, Worthy said, “Our hearts go out to the family of Zion Foster. This case is a quintessential example of investigators and prosecutors who refused to give up on her homicide.”
Worthy continued, “For 18 months, investigators put together the evidence. Each piece of evidence in this case was examined and linked together.”