LENOX TWP, Mich. (FOX 2) - Detroit Police Chief James White and other leaders in the search for Zion Foster held a press conference on Friday in Macomb County to provide updated details on the first week in the search for the 17-year-old girl in a Lenox Township landfill.
Police Chief White and Commander Michael McGinnis spoke on Friday as the first few days of the search is wrapped up.
White said these types of operations will happen as needed and said that they had a finding that was ‘positive’.
McGinnis spoke next and said they're removing 20 feet of what they're calling ‘unfocused’ material. However, they are inspecting the content as they're looking through the material. He said during one of those searches, they found a piece of mail that is from Detroit, leading them to be confident they're searching in the right area.
White said that they are searching a specific 100x100 area that Waste Management and the landfill will help them determine is the most likely area where Zion's remains are.
"They were able to isolate an area (that is) likely a particular area we need to focus on," White said.
The search started on Tuesday and is expected to take 6 to 8 weeks with the first phase being the removal of the top 20 feet of material from the focus area.
This process is expected to take two weeks and requires heavy equipment and employees from the Detroit's General Services Division and the Department of Public Works. Crews will also be building a road and a search deck that will be used to inspect materials found in the focus area.
Something like this has never been done before by DPD, but they are working with others who have dig experience, according to White.
White and McGinnis said the more detailed search is expected to start on Wednesday, June 15.
On May 12, investigators announced the search of the landfill and Zion's mom, Cierra Milton, was there for the announcement of the search.
"As heart-wrenching as it is, the turmoil I'm feeling inside, to know that my baby has to be recovered from trash, that an attempt has to be made like this, I'm grateful for those that have fought to get to this point. I want to know what happened to my baby," Milton said during the press conference. "I was supposed to be doing graduation pictures and prom and helping her to get her first ID, helping her to get her license. It's just so much to miss out on."
About 70 officials, 40 searchers and 30 additional employees are expected to start digging through a section of the landfill about 100 square feet large. The agent in charge said the search would take approximately seven to eight weeks.
Zion Foster was last seen on January 4 with her cousin, Brazier, who has since been convicted of lying to police in the investigation. In March, he was sentenced to between 23 months to 4 years in prison.
Detroit Police Chief James White said he made the call for DPD to take the lead on the investigation early on after Foster went missing, saying it's the "right thing to do."
Brazier admitted he found Zion dead, but he's not charged with her murder. Instead, Braizer admits he threw the dead body in a dumpster.
"I reacted stupidly off of fear and panic like I've never felt before in my life," he said in court during his sentencing.
"It wasn't too long ago that I saw you and even knowing that my baby had been in contact with him, I kept going to his house. I just wanted him to tell me the truth," said Milton.