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'A very difficult operation.' First phase of landfill search for Zion Foster underway

Posted at 3:09 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 21:02:16-04

LENOX TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — Detroit Police Chief James White provided an update Friday on the Lenox Township landfill search for the remains of 17-year-old Zion Foster, which he calls a "very difficult operation" with the heat and the site environment.

Phase one for "Operation Justice for Zion" started on Tuesday. Chief White said the phase one team is working on removing about 20 feet of material from the focus area.

DPD Commander Michael McGinnis said they have pulled out a piece of mail from Detroit in the date range where they expected it to be in the area where they're working.

"We're confident that the information we are working with is accurate," said Commander McGinnis.

Chief White said they expect phase one to take approximately 2 weeks, adding that a more detailed search would begin around June 15.

Foster, 17, went missing in January. Investigators say Foster's cousin confessed to putting the Eastpointe teen's body in a dumpster.

"We are committed to bringing justice to the ... family," said Chief White. "We're doing what's right for the right reasons."

Ciera Milton, Zion's mother, told 7 Action News on Monday, "I believe that this searching and finding her would definitely solidify their case."

The Detroit Public Safety Foundation says community support has been crucial in helping make the search possible.

If you're interested in helping, you can head to You can also call 313-434-2761.