BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho sheriff has said that investigators found what is believed to be the body of an 8-year-old girl who went missing earlier this week and that a suspect has been arrested. The girl’s two older siblings — also reported missing and last seen months earlier — were found safe.
The Gem County Sheriff’s Office initially announced Tuesday that authorities were searching for 17-year-old Tristan Conner Sexton, 14-year-old Taylor Summers and 8-year-old Taryn Summers and later said all three children were believed to have run away from the same home at separate times.
At the time, Tristan was last seen Sept. 10, and Taylor was last seen Oct. 19. Taryn was last seen on Monday, according to a Facebook post by the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office said law enforcement officers were searching for Taryn to make sure she wasn’t nearby or injured. They used drones and a dog to scour the rural neighborhood where the children were last seen.
Late Thursday night, however, Sheriff Donnie Wunder announced that investigators found a dead body on a property in the same rural neighborhood where the children were last seen.
“I can confirm that a body has been discovered that body is pending identification, but it is believed to be that of 8-year-old Taryn Summers, AKA Taryn Quinton,” Wunder said.
Wunder also said the older siblings were located and are not in danger. Tristan was recently contacted by family members and law enforcement officials contacted Taylor, he said.
“The older children were reported as runaways last fall, so we do not believe that they were recently with Taryn,” Wunder said.
A suspect in the case was arrested in Ada County, but the sheriff declined to identify the suspect or give additional details because the case was still under investigation.
A woman named Connie Ann Smith was booked into the Ada County Jail on a first-degree murder charge on an warrant from another county on Thursday. Records from the Gem County Assessor’s office show the property where the body was found is owned by a person named Connie Smith.
Court records do not show if Smith has an attorney who could speak on her behalf. She has not yet had an opportunity to enter a plea.