Zion Foster murder: How to watch Jaylin Brazier's trial

Zion Foster was just 17-years-old when she left her Eastpointe home in January 2022 to spend time with a cousin. It was the last time she was seen. Now, her cousin is on trial for her murder while on parole for a related conviction.

Jaylin Brazier told police that he was with Foster when they left her home on January 4, 2022. He admits that they were smoking marijuana, adding that she died with him – and that he even dumped her body in a dumpster somewhere in Detroit. But he denies that he killed her. 

Then last summer, he was bound over for trial for Foster's murder – despite police never recovering her remains after months of searching a Macomb County landfill.

Brazier's trial is scheduled to begin in Wayne County on May 6 with jury selection. Once the jury is seated, we'll stream the trial starting with opening statements. You can watch our gavel-to-gavel coverage in the player above, on FOX2Detroit.com, and FOX 2's YouTube channel.

What happened to Zion Foster?

Zion Foster was last seen by her mom, Ciera Milton, on Jan. 4, 2022.

Milton said Foster was picked up by her cousin at his home in Detroit to smoke marijuana. Milton said Foster texted her later saying she was coming home, but never did. When she started searching and couldn't find her, she went to Eastpointe Police and then Detroit Police, who eventually went to Brazier's home in Detroit and talked to him. 

Foster's phone last pinged in Detroit – which is what prompted Detroit Police to show up at Brazier's door.

Milton recalls Brazier telling her "he hadn’t seen or been in contact with her 'for three years' which is impossible when you were in my driveway and gave me a hug."

Milton said Brazier showed her surveillance footage, but there were gaps in the recordings. She filled in those gaps from a Ring doorbell camera that showed someone believed to be Brazier picking up Foster at her house in Eastpointe the night of her disappearance and bringing her back to his house.

Then, she said, she and others searched the area around Brazier's home.

"That prompted me to go to Jaylin's house. We searched the neighborhood, we looked through abandoned houses, we looked through dumpsters," she said.

Brazier was arrested a few days after Foster disappeared. He was initially arrested for lying to police during the investigation and ultimately pleaded no contest, as part of a plea deal. 

"I was on panic mode ever since that happened," Brazier said in court in 2022. "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?"

In March 2022, Brazier admitted to lying to Eastpointe Police about the investigation. 

"I can't even explain it, what happened. I can just tell you my honest reaction," Brazier claimed in court in March 2022. "One minute she was cool, she was fine. She laid back for a minute and the next thing I knew she was just dead. I don't know what caused it, I did not cause it."

Detroit Police Department spent several months in 2022 picking through tons of trash at a Macomb County landfill, but Foster's body was never found. The search was ultimately called off in October 2022.

'He threw her in a dumpster'

Brazier's story changed wildly over the first few months of the investigation. He first said that he didn't know where she was before ultimately admitting they had been together and that she had died with him as they were smoking marijuana. He then later said he put her body in a dumpster. 

"He said that my baby just died, and then that he threw her in a dumpster, like she was trash," Foster's mom said.

He did not say that he killed her.

"I reacted stupidly off of fear and panic like I've never felt before in my life," he said in court during his sentencing for the initial charge of lying to police.

Detroit Police then spent the summer of 2022 searching through a Macomb County landfill as that's where it was believed her body ultimately would have been when the dumpster was emptied. After several months of searching, they were unable to find her remains or evidence of her remains.

But a year after the search, in June 2023, Brazier was charged with her murder but maintained his innocence.

Milton said she did not believe Brazier.

"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.

In March 2022, he was sentenced to between 23 months to 4 years in prison.

Brazier's release and charges

In January 2023, Brazier was released from custody after completing just 10 months of his sentence. The 23-year-old completed a 90-day Special Incarceration Program - essentially a boot camp program - which granted his release. 

In August 2023, Brazier returned to a Wayne County courtroom for his preliminary hearing, which stretched over two days. 

He sat in court emotionless during the hearing as details emerged about Zion’s bank accounts and text messages — prosecutors say — Brazier shared with his girlfriend.

One of those messages included a link to a Google search that questioned if someone could be charged for murder if a body isn't discovered.

After two days of testimony, Brazier was bound over for trial.