The Zion baby is dead, but a massive manhunt continues in Zion today to find the baby’s body in a landfill. The 26-year-old boyfriend of the baby’s mother has confessed to killing five-month-old Joshua Summeries and disposing his body in a trash bin near the child’s home. Demetries Thorpe was charged with first-degree murder and ordered held on $5 million bond Saturday, according to the Chicago Tribune on Aug. 24.
The mystery has been cleared up for the residents of Zion who were critical of police search tactics as they concentrated on the Zion landfill in their manhunt for the baby this weekend. The landfill became the designated search area after a surveillance camera captured Thorpe putting a backpack in a trash bin behind the child’s home and watching as the driver empty the bin and cart it away.
During Thorpe’s arraignment on Saturday prosecutors revealed that the suspect was captured on a video throwing the body of the missing baby Joshua, which was stuffed into a backpack, into a garbage can in an alley behind his Zion residence in the 2300 block of Galilee Avenue. He came back shortly after and removed the backpack and then placed it a garbage bin. This is when Thorpe was seen watching as the garbage truck carted away the contents of that bin.
Thorpe confessed to police that he killed his girlfriend’s 5-month-old son. The baby died after he put his hand over the infant’s mouth while the boy was crying. He said the baby stopped breathing and this is when he put the baby in a backpack and threw the infant’s body into a trash bin in Zion last week, prosecutors said.
This fills in all the missing blanks of this case for the residents of Zion who took to the Zion Police Department Facebook page to air their complaints about the search tactics of the police this weekend. People of the town were under the impression that police were not doing their job correctly by concentrating their search for the infant at the landfill and not checking the woods around the area not far from the child’s home.
The residents of Zion had no idea that the police were searching the landfill because that is where the driver of the garbage truck transported the contents of the trash bin seen on the video. Police had contacted the driver to try and pinpoint the area that he dumped the garbage. Police did say they couldn’t release all the information they had on the case because it would compromise the case. This was before they had Thorpe in custody.
The infant was reported missing at about 8 a.m. Wednesday by his mother. She reported that her boyfriend, Thorpe allegedly told her that someone had reached in a window and taken the baby. When she questioned him further, Thorpe ran off. Police searched the area for Thorpe and he was finally found on Saturday.
The report of the abducted baby triggered a massive search in Zion starting on Wednesday. 200 police officers and emergency workers combed various areas of the city for the missing baby. When the surveillance video revealed Thorpe dumping the backpack in the garbage bin, the search was concentrated on the landfill starting Friday. On Friday, workers used construction equipment to pick through garbage at a 330-acre landfill facility on Green Bay Road in Zion. The search continued Saturday for the child’s body, officials said.
Police held a news conference on Saturday morning and Round Lake police Chief George Filenko reported that the search “worse than (looking for) a needle in a haystack.” Filenko is commander of the unit leading the investigation, the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.