South Carolina mom charged with homicide in death of five-month-old

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 09, 2015 5:23 PM

(Reuters) - A South Carolina mother was charged with homicide on Monday in the death of her five-month-old daughter, Grace, whose body was found in a creek last week, authorities said.

Sarah Lane Toney, 33, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., is charged with homicide by child abuse, punishable by 20 years to life in prison, according to police in Horry County, where Grace's body was found.

Authorities said that on the morning of Nov. 3, a homeowner called police and said a woman had shown up on her back doorstep, soaking wet, saying she had just carried her baby through the creek behind the house, but that she did not have the baby with her anymore, a Horry County police report released on Monday said.

The woman on the doorstep, later identified as Toney, was "twitching and scratching" her skin and exhibited behavior consistent with being on methamphetamine, police said in the report.

Toney first told police she had taken the infant into the water because she was crying, and then she said it was because she was "trying to find God," the report said.

After a high-profile two-day search for "Baby Grace," the infant's body was found submerged in the swift-moving creek near where Toney had climbed out of the water, police said.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas; editing by Grant McCool)