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Zion Police Chief Defends Search Effort For Missing Baby

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5-month-old infant Joshua Summeries. (Credit: Zion Police)

5-month-old infant Joshua Summeries. (Credit: Zion Police)

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ZION, Ill. (CBS) — Zion’s police chief is defending the search undertaken last month for a murdered five-month-old boy as thorough, but some of the others speaking at Tuesday night’s city commission meeting took issue.

Police Chief Wayne Brooks said the amount of trash searchers had to look through in their search for Joshua Summeries’ body was monumental, because the landfill receives 1,700 tons of refuse each day.

But family spokesman Clyde McLemore said the search should have continued at least two more days, if not longer. He said he hoped to persuade the city commission to order the search reopened, but said he never had the chance.

“Now we have to ride by the landfill, and it’s a cemetery for Joshua Summeries,” McLemore said.

Search dog owner Robert Larson also addressed the commission. He said he was willing to look, but was barred by police as a publicity-seeker.

“You search until you find them. You don’t give up,” he said. “They gave up.”

Eaves said that to hold out what he called “false hope” of finding Joshua’s body would be “cruel.”

He said he called off the search only after four days of “meticulous” work, with everything from earth movers to searchers using rakes and their hands to sift through the garbage.

“This was the most difficult decision I have made in my 30-year law enforcement career,” he said.

Eaves thanked the residents of Zion for searching their property for possible evidence and offering to assist the searchers who came from communities throughout the Chicago suburbs and southeastern Wisconsin, including volunteers from Illinois and Wisconsin National Guard units.

The boyfriend of Joshua’s mother, 26-year-old Demetries Thorpe, has been charged with murder, accused of suffocating Joshua when he would not stop crying last month. He allegedly responded to Joshua’s cries by going to the boy’s bedroom, and holding his head over the infant’s mouth for 10 to 15 seconds. After realizing Joshua had died, Thorpe allegedly placed the boy’s body in a backpack, dropped it out a window, and put it in a trash can.

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