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updated: 8/26/2013 10:26 AM

Landfill search ended for body of missing Zion baby

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  • Demetries Thorpe

      Demetries Thorpe

  • Zion Police Chief Wayne Brooks speaks at a news conference Saturday morning in Zion. Behind the chief is Mike Filenko, while Lake County State's Attorney Mike Nerheim is on the right.

       Zion Police Chief Wayne Brooks speaks at a news conference Saturday morning in Zion. Behind the chief is Mike Filenko, while Lake County State's Attorney Mike Nerheim is on the right.
    Jake Griffin | Staff Photographer

 
 

Police have ended the search for missing 5-month-old Joshua Summeries after spending the weekend searching an area landfill for his body, officials in Zion said Sunday night.

"The search and recovery efforts for Joshua Summeries have been terminated at the Zion landfill. Sadly, Joshua was not located," said Chief Wayne Brooks through a news release.

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Police had been searching the landfill for Summeries' body since Thursday.

Demetries Thorpe, 26, of Zion, confessed to killing the boy Wednesday morning and eventually discarding the child's remains in a Dumpster, according to police.

Thorpe is being held at the Lake County jail in lieu of a $5 million bond. He is charged with first-degree murder.

In addition to a confession, Lake County State's Attorney Mike Nerheim said police have surveillance footage of Thorpe placing the backpack in the Dumpster.

Nerheim said Thorpe, the baby's mother's boyfriend, initially told investigators the child had been kidnapped. But after being interviewed over the course of two days, Thorpe eventually told police that he killed the child by putting his hands over the boy's face for "10 to 15 seconds" in an attempt to stop it from crying.

Thorpe placed the baby's body in a backpack, dropped the backpack out of a window of the house and discarded the backpack in a garbage can in the alley behind the house, Nerheim said.

The boy's mother reported him missing from her apartment on the 23000 block of Galilee Avenue on Wednesday morning.

Police officers, cadaver dogs and volunteer members of the Illinois and Wisconsin National Guard had been using rakes and their bare hands to sift through the landfill for four days, but to no avail.

"The Zion Police launched an exhaustive and daunting search of an area within the landfill, which it was thought held the specific refuse dumped from the Dumpster Demetries Thorpe said he placed Joshua in," the release said.

"This search took a physical and emotional toll on even the most seasoned professionals, who did everything humanly possible to find Joshua."

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