'They’re just dedicated.' Volunteers battle extreme heat in landfill search for Zion Foster

Search for Zion
Posted at 4:10 PM, Jun 21, 2022

(WXYZ) — Tomorrow, week two of Phase 2 in the search for Zion Foster begins. The 17-year-old disappeared in January; her cousin claims to have dumped her body.

Volunteers are preparing for multiple days of 90-plus degree temperatures.

One volunteer calls the landfill search a "strenuous activity" that he is glad to part of. Tuesday was reportedly a maintenance day with the searching taking place from Wednesday to Sunday.

Detroit Police Department Commander Michael McGinnis says he was up at the landfill searching last week, including Wednesday, when there was about 105 degree index.

A hot one, especially with all of that PPE they wear, from HAZMAT suits, and two layers of gloves that are duck-taped to the suit. The boots are duck-taped as well, keeping any particles out.

He says volunteers search for about 20 minutes and then a break.

"The task force commander is very engaged with the temperature and the heat index. And if it’s going to be too hot, we’ll call the operation for the day. We don’t want anyone to get injured. One of the real benefits that we had up there and it’s up there still was there’s two vans, prisoners' vans. Vans that have air conditioning. So when we take these breaks, the searchers have the ability to go get in the van and cool off with air conditioning for that 10 or usually about 5 to 10 minutes is all you need. And you kind of rotate out. So that’s one way, but they’re just dedicated ... just dedicated. I can't be thankful enough for 'em,'" said Commander McGinnis.

A couple of organizations stepped up recently to donate food including Roman Village in Dearborn and Diversified Member Credit Union. The Detroit Public Safety Commission says if you’re interested in helping, you can reach out. Monetary donations can be made by clicking here and selecting the tab “Justice for Zion.” Checks with “Justice for Zion” in the memo can be mailed to the Detroit Public Safety Foundation at 1301 Third Street, Suite 547, Detroit, MI 48226. In-kind donations can be made, too; call Patti Kukula at 313-434-2761.