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Zion chief asks residents to search garbage cans for missing baby

Police officers from as far away as Schiller Park Lake Zurich were among reported 125 personnel from Northern Illinois Police

Police officers from as far away as Schiller Park and Lake Zurich were among a reported 125 personnel from a Northern Illinois Police Alarm System alert squad who participated in the search for 5-month-old Joshua Summeries in Zion on Wednesday, Aug. 21. | Dan Moran~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 24, 2013 6:24AM

The Zion Police Department asked residents Thursday to search their property and garbage cans in hopes of locating a missing 5-month-old baby, who was reported abducted Wednesday.

“They are an obvious place to dispose or hide anything of evidentiary value,” Zion Police Chief Wayne Brooks said, noting that garbage cans were out in the neighborhood where Joshua Summeries and his family live on Galilee Avenue.

Since there is a risk of losing evidence forever, the chief also has asked waste hauler Advance Disposal to put off picking up the garbage for an additional day.

“You hope for the best, but the reality is the worst, a 5-month-old out in the elements is not good,” Brooks said Thursday afternoon.

While Brooks was speaking with the Lake County News-Sun, the boyfriend of Joshua’s mother was being questioned as a person of interest at the Zion Police Department, the chief said.

Police found the boyfriend after canvassing the neighborhood and showing his picture to neighbors, Brooks said.

“He put up no resistance, but it took most of the day to find him,” said Brooks, adding that several others were being interviewed as persons of interest.

Brooks also said Joshua’s mother is cooperating with the investigation.

“We do believe we’re on a good path,” Brooks said of investigators’ progress.

There were 50 officers searching around the mother’s apartment Thursday, when the search was narrowed from the original six blocks in every direction from the apartment.

Brooks reported that the city also utilized its reverse telephone call system to enlist help from residents.

Brooks pledged that police are committed to finding Joshua, and will use all available resources. About 200 law enforcement personnel initially responded to Zion’s call for mutual aid to search the area after he was reported missing from a Zion apartment.

“The caller indicated that unknown persons had abducted the missing infant,” according to the chief’s statement. “Responding officers found some evidence to believe that the circumstances surrounding this missing infant were suspicious.”

That sparked large-scale search for the boy — police officers and other emergency workers helped search for the child most of the day.

They were “all over the city working in grid fashion in the neighborhood where this child went missing and trying to get some leads,” Zion Mayor Lane Harrison said.

He added that bloodhounds were used in the search.

“They pulled together what they consider to be some of the best to try and ferret this whole thing out and decide what is really happening,” Harrison said.

Police said officers are conducting interviews and “painstakingly” searching the area. They also noted that they believe this to be “an isolated incident.”

Brooks initially held out hope that Joshua could be found alive, but that changed around noon Thursday.

“Our concern and belief is that Joshua has been harmed or worse,” he said in a press release.

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