Boyfriend of missing baby’s mom charged in death
BY RUTH FULLER AND BECKY SCHLIKERMAN For Sun-Times Media August 25, 2013 6:13PM
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 27, 2013 6:27AM
A Zion man was ordered held on $5 million bail Saturday after he was charged with suffocating his girlfriend’s crying 5-month-old baby boy, then throwing his remains in the garbage.
Demetries Thorpe, 26, is accused of killing Joshua Summeries, whose disappearance earlier this week spurred a huge police search for the boy, involving hundreds of officers. Officials are still searching for the youngster’s remains in a Zion garbage dump.
On Saturday, about 200 people mourned in Zion — including little Joshua’s parents.
“We will always love our son — no matter what,” said Clarence Summeries at a candlelight vigil. Joshua’s mother, Kisha Summeries, stood next to Clarence Summeries, tears streaking down her face.
It was allegedly her boyfriend, Thorpe, who told police he placed his hand over the mouth of the little boy for 10-15 seconds when the boy was crying. Eventually, Joshua stopped breathing, Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim said at a news conference Saturday.
Thorpe put the child into a backpack and dropped the child out of a window. He then threw the boy’s body into a garbage can and told the child’s 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, that 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, which had the city of Zion asking residents to search through their own outdoor trash cans for evidence. More than 200 local and national officials, including the FBI, have been 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.
But the boy’s mother has a history of neglect, according to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. She and Thorpe are under investigation by the department regarding Joshua’s death, said a DCFS spokesman, Dave Clarkin.
Three times the department has substantiated allegations of neglect against her, Clarkin said. The most recent incident was in January, and Thorpe was not yet a member of the household, Clarkin said. Five other reports regarding the mother were unsubstantiated, he said.
The mother has six children, including Joshua. Four of the children have been placed in foster care. One child is with his father and is being monitored by DCFS, Clarkin said.
On Saturday, officers continued to search for the boy’s body at the Advanced Disposal Landfill.
“To say it’s like a needle in a haystack — it’s even worse than that,” Brooks said.
Outside the Zion apartment where the little boy lived, well wishers set up a makeshift memorial of candles, balloons and teddy bears then later held a vigil.
Late Sunday afternoon, Zion police reported that there were no new developments in the case.
The department issued a statement earlier in the day thanking residents “who support all of the officers and outside agencies that are involved in this horrible case.”
Contributing: Dan Moran