An Illinois woman has been arrested and charged with the death of her 10-year-old son, whose body was found by police in a garbage can in her garage. The discovery of Zion Staples’ body came seven months after his death under suspicious circumstances. The case has left the community in Rock Island stunned and searching for answers.
Rock Island police responded to a tip regarding 37-year-old Sushi Staples, leading them to make the gruesome discovery of Zion Staples’ body on July 26th. The Quad-City Times reported that a concerned individual had made multiple calls to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in recent months, expressing concerns about Staples’ behavior and odd comments regarding her son. One such comment, made on January 3rd, hinted at a change in future Christmases. The woman’s call to DCFS on July 25th prompted a wellness check by the police, ultimately leading to the tragic discovery.
Zion Staples, who passed away in December, was officially pronounced dead on July 26th. Preliminary results from an autopsy conducted in Rockford indicated that the death was not natural and was considered suspicious. Coroner Brian Gustafson stated that due to the ongoing investigation, no further information could be disclosed at this time. Sushi Staples now faces felony charges, including failure to report the death of a child under 13, concealment of death, and obstruction of justice. Each charge that Staples received carries a potential sentence of one to three years in prison.
A criminal complaint cited by the outlet states that Staples allegedly lied to an officer about the whereabouts of Zion and even claimed that she had no son, suggesting his birth certificate was fraudulent. The complaint further stated that Staples knowingly moved Zion’s body from its original location with the intention of concealing information about his death. She relocated the body from inside the residence to a large garbage bin in the garage.
Neighbors in the community, including Andre and Danielle Builta, who recently moved next door to the Staples family, expressed shock and disbelief. They described the family as seemingly happy, with children playing in the yard and engaging in normal activities. The discovery of Zion’s body in such close proximity to their new home has left them feeling concerned and unsettled.
Questions have arisen regarding why it took so long for Zion’s body to be found. The investigation into this tragic case is ongoing, and Sushi Staples made her first court appearance on July 28, where she was held on $500,000 bail pending a hearing on August 15.