Zion Police end search of landfill for body of missing 5-month-old
BY RUTH FULLER AND BECKY SCHLIKERMAN August 24, 2013 9:46AM
The parents of Joshua Summeries listen as Clyde McLemore calls on the community to assist the family with burial costs for the 5-month-old child, who authorities reported Saturday has yet to be found. | Photo by Dan Moran/Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 26, 2013 6:54AM
Zion Police have called off the search for the remains of a 5-month-old boy allegedly killed by his mother’s boyfriend.
On Saturday, Demetries Thorpe, 26, of Zion, was ordered held on $5 million bail. He was charged with suffocating his girlfriend’s crying baby, Joshua Summeries, then throwing his remains in the garbage.
Joshua’s disappearance earlier this week spurred a huge police search involving hundreds of officers.
Police said the search of the Advanced Disposal Landfill in Zion ended about 5:30 p.m. Sunday after the area of the landfill that was thought to contain Joshua’s remains was cleared, according to a statement issued by Zion police. The infant’s body was not found. The statement said the painstaking search went on four days, with searchers using rakes and their hands to sift through the refuse. The searchers “did everything humanly possible to find Joshua,” the statement said.
On Saturday, about 200 people gathered in Zion for a candlelight vigil — including little Joshua’s parents.
“We will always love our son — no matter what,” Clarence Summeries said at the vigil. Joshua’s mother, Kisha Summeries, stood next to Clarence Summeries, tears streaking down her face.
Police said Thorpe told them he placed his hand over Joshua’s mouth for 10 to 15 seconds when he was crying. Eventually, the baby stopped breathing, Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim said at a news conference Saturday.
Thorpe put the child into a backpack and dropped him out of a window. He then threw the baby’s body into a garbage can and told his mother that the baby had been kidnapped, Nerheim said.
When Joshua’s mother asked why he didn’t call 911, he allegedly ran out of the apartment, removed the backpack with the boy’s body from the garbage can and took it to a nearby Dumpster as a garbage truck was approaching. Video surveillance shows Thorpe heading to the Dumpster with a backpack, waiting for the garbage truck to take the garbage away and then walking away without the backpack, Nerheim said.
Police said Thorpe confessed to what happened while he was questioned over two days.
Joshua’s mother notified police on Wednesday, just before 8 a.m., sparking the huge search. The city of Zion asked residents to search through their own outdoor trash cans for evidence. More than 200 local and national officials, including the FBI, were involved in the investigation and the search, Zion Police Chief Wayne Brooks said.
Joshua’s mother has cooperated fully with police and is not considered a suspect, Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko said.
Contributing: Dan Moran