06/13/2024

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Jaylin Brazier pictured in October 2022 (Michigan Department of Corrections), Zion Foster (WDIV/YouTube screengrab)

Cousin who helped put up ‘missing person’ fliers after dumping teen’s body in dumpster convicted of her murder

Jaylin Brazier pictured in October 2022 (Michigan Department of Corrections), Zion Foster (WDIV/YouTube screengrab)

A 25-year-old man in Michigan is facing a possible sentence of life behind bars for killing his 17-year-old cousin despite the fact that her body has not been found since he admitted to throwing her remains into a dumpster in early 2022. A jury in Wayne County on Thursday found Jaylin Omar Brazier guilty on one count of second-degree murder and one count of tampering with evidence in the death of Zion Foster, authorities announced.

“This case remains the quintessential example of investigators and prosecutors who refused to give up on a woman’s homicide. For 18 months, investigators put together the evidence,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement following the legal proceedings. “Each piece of evidence in this case was examined and linked together Zion’s cousin, Jaylin Brazier, with murder in the second-degree for killing Zion.”

As previously reported by Law&Crime, Brazier had already been incarcerated in connection to his cousin’s death. In 2022 he pleaded guilty to lying to authorities about Zion’s death, telling police he hadn’t seen her for weeks before changing his story and saying that he panicked and dumped her body in a dumpster when she died suddenly after the two had been smoking marijuana together. He was sentenced to up to four years in prison in 2022 before being paroled in Jan. 2023.”

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    Despite Brazier’s murder conviction, authorities remain unclear as to exactly what transpired on the night of Jan. 4. 2022, when Zion was last seen alive leaving her home in Eastpointe, Michigan.

    She was reported missing five days later.

    Brazier brought suspicion upon himself in the days after Zion’s disappearance when he began telling Zion’s mother — his aunt — as well as his own mother, that he had not seen Zion in some time.

    Zion’s mother also explained how Brazier inserted himself into the aftermath of his cousin’s disappearance and said Zion’s claims about seeing him in the weeks before her death were lies.

    “I didn’t call him. He called me on, when my baby didn’t come home. He called me to say, ‘I don’t know why Zion would lie and put me into this. I haven’t seen her in years. I haven’t seen her in months.’ And I’m, like, ‘What? It wasn’t too long ago that I saw you,’” Milton told Detroit-based NBC affiliate WDIV. The mother said that Brazier even helped her post missing person fliers “of my baby in his neighborhood, on the corner of his house, the street that he lives.”

    In the weeks that followed, Brazier went from an ostensibly helpful and concerned helper in the search for his cousin, to a person of interest in her disappearance. Months later, Brazier blamed the lie on “innate fear” and “panic.”

    Brazier went on to claim that Foster suddenly stopped breathing when the two of them were smoking marijuana. Due to his state of mind while high on the marijuana, Brazier said that he panicked and tossed her body in a nearby dumpster.

    “My first thought was how bad it looked to start with. How do I explain what happened? I don’t know why she died or what caused her to die, and just a lot of possibilities popped in my head,” Brazier testified during trial. “I was reacting off of just innate fear. I don’t know. Literally, I don’t do anything. I just didn’t know what to do, literally. Literally, did not know what to do. I sat for at least 10 minutes sitting there, like, ‘What do I do? Who do I call?’ My kids are upstairs. We just got into this place after struggling for like two years to get here, and everything is falling down.”

    Brazier is currently scheduled to return to court for his sentencing hearing on June 3, 2024 before Judge Donald Knapp.

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    Matt Naham contributed to this report.

    The post Cousin who helped put up ‘missing person’ fliers after dumping teen’s body in dumpster convicted of her murder first appeared on Law & Crime.