Connie Smith Idaho grandmother charged with failing to notify authorities of death of 8 year old Emmett granddaughter, Taryn Summers after girl’s body found in trash bag inside car grandmother had been driving on the day the child’s body was discovered.
An Emmett, Idaho woman has been ordered held on an $800,000 bond after the body of her 8-year-old ‘missing’ granddaughter was found in a trash bag in the floorboard of her son’s black Lexus last week.
Connie Smith, 54, who was arrested in Ada County last week, appeared in a Gem County court Monday afternoon for an arraignment hearing. Smith is charged with single felony counts of failing to notify law enforcement of a death and destruction of evidence.
Investigators declined to release a cause of death.
If convicted, Smith faces maximum prison sentences of 10 and five years for the respective charges the Idaho Statesman reports.
Additional charges could be filed in the case, according to a prosecutor.
Few details were discussed during the hearing. Judge Tyler Smith said the case involved a missing child, and the child’s body was later found. The missing child was identified as Smith’s granddaughter, Taryn Summers according to the Idaho Statesman.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, the child, id as ‘TS’ had previously been reported as a runaway. The child was reported missing April 12. On Thursday, April 15, the Gem County Sheriff’s Office announced it had discovered a body believed to be that of Taryn.
According to the affidavit: ‘Connie Smith called police and said TS had run away from home on April 12. She later said the child defecated on a carpeted area of the home and she could not clean it up. She told police that she cut the carpet out and burned it. On April 14, Idaho State Forensics investigators observed a small brown spot on a bedroom wall they presumed to be blood.’
Police later learned that on April 12, the day of TS’s disappearance, Smith who was also the child’s legal guardian was seen driving a black Lexus from a preschool in Emmett with TS sleeping in the back seat.
Investigators later learned that Smith had to carry the child back to a bedroom at home.
Investigators conducted several searches around Smith’s property. Eventually, they gained access to the Lexus, where they found TS’s body inside a black trash bag on the floorboard of the second-row seating area.
The affidavit did not list a possible cause of death for TS. It noted that she had vomit on her shirt and in her 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, the East Idaho News reported.
Of note, the girl’s disappearance follows that of two other children living at the residence also previously reported missing, including, Tristan Sexton, 17, who was the first to vanish in September 2020. Taylor Summers, 14, vanished a month later, before 8-year-old Taryn Summers also disappeared Apr. 12, the Associated Press reports. Both elder siblings have been accounted for.
The children’s biological mother was arrested in 2019 after Taylor, Taryn and another sibling tested positive for hard drugs, according to court documents obtained by EastIdahoNews.com.
Community members held a candlelit vigil on Saturday in Summers’s memory, KBOI-TV reports.
‘She was my best friend. I rode the bus with her. I miss her and I hope she is in heaven,’ local resident Jerilyn Hergenreder told the station.
As part of her conditions of posting bail, Smith will obliged to submit to GPS tracking and forbidden from leaving Idaho’s 3rd Judicial District.
Smith’s next court appearance will be for a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 3 in Emmett.