IDAHO: A US woman has been detained on an $800,000 bond after her missing 8-year-old granddaughter’s body was found in a bag in the floorboard of her son’s black Lexus, but the initial first-degree murder charge she faced was changed before the arraignment.
Connie Smith, 54, now faces charges of felony failure to notify a death and felony destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence in the death of Taryn Summers, although a prosecutor said that more charges are expected.
Smith was arrested on April 15, the same day the body was found, according to the local media reports. Investigators have not, however, released the name of the victim, but the sheriff’s office told the media they believe it to be Summers. The suggestion was further solidified from court documents that refer to the victim by the initials T.S.
Separately, the investigators have not released a cause of death of the minor, as well.
A probable cause affidavit filed with the court said that Smith reported Summers missing on April 12, saying she had run away, and Gem County Sheriff’s deputies began investigating the case.
By the following day, deputies had learned that the girl’s two older siblings — 16-year-old Tristan Conner Sexton and 14-year-old Taylor Summers — had both run away from the same home last fall, Tristan in September and Taylor in October.
Investigators began looking for the two teens as well.
The affidavit says that detectives inquired about a missing section of carpet in the girl’s bedroom, and Smith told them Taryn had defecated on the carpet, so she cut the section out and burned it.
A mountain search and rescue team searched the property on April 14 but found nothing. The following day, state forensic crews came to the property and found a small spot of blood on Taryn’s bedroom wall, the affidavit says.
A second search of the property found the body in a black plastic trash bag, on the floor of the vehicle. Vomit was smeared on her shirt and hair.
The vehicle is registered to Smith’s son, but the affidavit says that Smith was seen driving it on April 12, the day she reported Taryn missing.
Smith was arrested, and Gem County authorities said that they had spoken with the missing 14-year-old girl and that the family had been in contact with the teen boy. Neither had any contact with Taryn, authorities said, and were not in any danger.
Although prosecutors dropped the original first-degree murder charge against Smith, Gem County Prosecuting Attorney Erick Thomson asked the court for a $1 million bail, the local news reported.