EMMETT, Idaho - A grandmother has been charged after the body of a missing child from Emmett, Idaho, was discovered last week inside a trash bag in a car parked outside her own home, according to court documents made public on Monday.
The dead girl is believed to be Taryn Summers, 8, who was reported missing from her home on April 12. Investigators have not officially identified the body — referred to by the initials T. S. in court documents — but the Gem County sheriff’s office has said the body is believed to be that child.
The child’s grandmother, Connie Ann Smith, 54, was arrested in Ada County last week and charged with felony failure to notify of a death and destruction of evidence, prosecutors said. She could face up to 10 years in prison on the failure to notify charge if convicted, and up to five years on destruction of evidence.
Court documents said Smith told the sheriff’s office on Monday that Summers, who lived with her, had run away. Smith added that she had cut a section of carpet out of the girl’s bedroom and burned it because Taryn had defecated on the carpet. Searches revealed no sign of the missing girl.
Investigators with Idaho State Forensic returned to the house on Wednesday where they were led to a vehicle registered to the suspect’s son. A probable cause affidavit said Smith was seen driving the vehicle the day Summers went missing.
The girl was discovered in a black plastic trash bag in the car with vomit smeared on her shirt and in her hair, investigators said. An official cause of death has not yet been released.
Prosecuting Attorney Erick Thompson told the court Monday that the matter was still under investigation and that additional charges could be filed. He urged the judge to set bond at $1 million or more, arguing that the defendant may be a flight risk.
Smith’s attorney Josh Taylor, from Boise, asked for a lower bond, telling the judge that his client has no prior criminal history and turned herself in after learning of the charges.
Judge Tyler Smith ordered the grandmother held on an $800,000 bond and that she surrender her passport and undergo GPS monitoring if released from jail. The judge also ordered that Smith have no contact with children.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 3.