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New DNA Evidence Cited In Zion Baby Death Case

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

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

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ZION, Ill. (STMW) – A new, “significant,” DNA report involving the murder of a 5-month-old baby from north suburban Zion last summer is being reviewed by prosecutors and defense attorneys for Demetries Thorpe, accused of murder in the case, but neither side was revealing information Monday morning.

At a case management hearing for Thorpe Monday morning, Assistant State’s Attorney Fred Day told Judge Daniel Shanes that new discovery material involving DNA was being reviewed and that he planned to sit down with defense attorneys to discuss the matter.

“I think it’s significant,” Day said.

Outside of court after the hearing, Day declined to provide further information. Public defenders Keith Grant and Jeff Facklam also said they would not comment on the issue Monday.

A new case management hearing was scheduled for next Monday, May 19.

In March, Shanes ordered a DNA swab for Thorpe, a 26-year-old Zion resident. At the time the DNA swab was ordered, Day said it would be used in an attempt to match it with evidence in the case, but added that he couldn’t go into details regarding the evidence at that point in the pretrial process.

Thorpe, who has been in the custody of the Lake County Jail on $5 million bond since his arrest last year, was present but did not participate in Monday’s hearing.

There is currently no trial date scheduled for Thorpe, but Shanes, in scheduling Thorpe’s next appearance for next Monday, indicated he wanted the case to move forward. Attorneys also referenced negotiations between prosecutors and the defense during the brief hearing Monday morning.

Thorpe has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges for allegedly suffocating his former girlfriend’s 5-month-old son, Joshua Summeries, and then disposing of the body in a garbage dumpster.

Thorpe was arrested and charged with the murder of the infant Aug. 24 of last year. The baby had been reported missing from the mother’s Zion apartment Aug. 21, and Thorpe quickly became the focus of the investigation.

Officials said Thorpe, in a confession to investigators, said that he placed his hand over the mouth of the crying baby for several seconds, and then put the child in a backpack, which he threw from a window.

Officials said Thorpe also described putting the baby into a dumpster, which was emptied by a garbage truck soon after.

An intensive, multi-day search of Zion’s Advanced Disposal Landfill failed to locate the infant’s body.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)