Court documents: Child’s body found in garbage bag inside grandmother’s vehicle
Jacob Scholl, Idaho Statesman
Published at | Updated at
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers.
EMMETT (Idaho Statesman) — An Emmett woman faces steep bail for allegedly failing to report a death at her home. Additional charges could be filed in the case, according to a prosecutor.
Connie Smith, 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. If convicted, Smith faces maximum prison sentences of 10 and five years for the respective charges.
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 alleged conduct is disturbing,” the judge said of the facts outlined in a probable cause affidavit.
Gem County Prosecuting Attorney Erick Thompson told the court Monday that the matter was still under investigation and that additional charges could be filed. Thompson called the underlying facts of the case “egregious.”
According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by the Idaho Statesman, Smith is the grandmother and custodian of a person identified by the initials TS, whom Smith allegedly reported as a runaway. The affidavit was signed by Lt. Jason McIntosh of the Gem County Sheriff’s Office.
Those initials are the same as 8-year-old Taryn Summers, of Emmett, who was reported missing April 12. On Thursday, the Gem County Sheriff’s Office announced it had discovered a body believed to be that of Taryn.
Neither the court filings nor authorities have said TS stands for Taryn Summers. Connie Smith has a son with the last name of Summers, according to the affidavit. And a Connie Smith is listed as the owner of a property near where Taryn Summers was reportedly last seen.
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, Connie Smith 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.
During the Monday hearing, Thompson pointed to Smith’s alleged willingness to not report a death and asked for $1 million bail.
Joshua Taylor, a Boise defense attorney, requested a lower bail, saying any amount would be difficult for Smith to pay.
Judge Smith ordered bail set at $800,000. If she does post it, Connie Smith must submit to GPS tracking and she cannot leave Idaho’s 3rd Judicial District, which includes Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington counties. The court also allowed her to visit Ada County, where her defense attorney is based.
Smith’s next court appearance will be for a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 3 in Emmett.