Zion Foster: Jaylin Brazier charged with murder of his cousin, last seen in January 2022

Jaylin Brazier, the cousin of Zion Foster who was long believed to have been connected to her disappearance, has been charged with second-degree murder in Wayne County, a year-and-a-half after she disappeared.

Brazier was charged with murdering the 19-year-old, whose remains have never been recovered.

"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. For 18 months, investigators put together the evidence. Each piece of evidence in this case was examined and linked together," said Prosecutor Kym Worthy. 

Brazier has been connected to her disappearance over the past 18 months since she was last seen on Jan. 4, 2022. He was charged with lying to police and sentenced to spend between 23 months and four years in prison. He was released in January of this year after being admitted into a special boot camp program which allowed for an early release to those who successfully complete it.

"The defendant took a young woman’s life," said Prosecutor Ryan Else. "Disposed of her remains and then repeatedly obstructed the investigation into her disappearance."

Foster was 17 when she was last seen after leaving home in Eastpointe to visit Brazier in Detroit last January.  As friends, family, and police searched for her, Brazier told Eastpointe investigators he did not know where she was or what happened to her.

He later admitted to putting her body in a dumpster — and claimed she stopped breathing while they were smoking marijuana.

"I was on panic mode ever since that happened," Brazier said in court. "Her mother at one point talked to me, and I couldn't bring myself to (tell her) 'Your daughter just died.' What do I do?"

Brazier was sentenced to 23 months to four years in prison for lying to police, but ended up spending nine months behind bars.

"He made a plea and served his time in prison for those charges," said Timothy Doty II, Brazier's attorney.

The defense says even though he was just assigned to this case, he finds it hard to believe enough has changed to warrant holding his client without bond.

"This is the 3rd time the prosecutor’s office has tried to bring charges against my client for the disappearance and alleged murder of Zion Foster and they have been told multiple times they don’t have enough evidence," said Doty. "This is a 2022 case, you know what stopped this case? The Detroit police not doing their job period. Not my client."

A group of Detroit police officers dedicated their entire summer searching for Zion Foster's body in a Macomb County landfill, but never found her.  The search was ultimately called off in October 2022.

Despite keeping the evidence in this case a secret for now, the magistrate says he saw enough to hold the defendant without a bond.

"I’ve had the opportunity to review the investigators' report and it’s concerning," said Magistrate Jeffrey Kleparek, 36th District Court.

Brazier was arraigned on Tuesday and is being held without bond. He's next due in court on July 3 with a preliminary exam scheduled for July 10.

Jaylin Brazier

Jaylin Brazier