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Sources: Emmett teenager identified as Twin Falls drowning victim

Taylor Summers is the older sister of Taryn Summers, an 8-year-old whose body was found April 15 in a trash bag the back seat of a car in Emmett.
Credit: Idaho Press

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Editor's note: This story originally appeared on the Idaho Press website.

Fifteen-year-old Taylor Summers has been unofficially identified as the victim of a July 22 accidental drowning in the Snake River. Summers is the older sister of Taryn Summers, an 8-year-old whose body was found April 15 in a trash bag the back seat of a car in Emmett.

The Summers' foster care grandmother Connie Ann Smith has been in custody since April 19 and remains in jail facing charges related to Taryn's death.

Taylor Summers previously had been reported as missing in October 2020 and was later classified as a runaway. Her older brother Tristan Sexton had been reported missing in the summer of 2020 and later classified as a runaway. Neither have been classified as runaways or missing since law enforcement made contact with them following Taryn's death in April. 

Search crews recovered Taylor's body on Monday, July 26. She had been reported missing on the evening of July 22 while swimming with friends near Pillar Falls, upriver from the Perrine Memorial Bridge in Twin Falls. 

Witnesses reported that she disappeared underwater and did not resurface. Two days of extensive searches including dive teams were unsuccessful in locating her body. Water levels were lowered in the river and a police drone located her the following Monday morning.  

While no official governmental agency will openly confirm the information, numerous sources including family and friends have confirmed Taylor's identity as the Snake River drowning victim. 

The Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office confirmed to the Messenger-Index on Monday that, while not releasing formal identity, the death was officially classified as an accidental drowning and considered a closed case. 

Official identification of both Taryn and Taylor Summers is in the hands of Idaho Health and Welfare as the legal guardian of kids in foster care. Health and Welfare has a longstanding policy of releasing no information regarding any minors in its jurisdiction. 

Taylor had attended Emmett Middle School prior to apparently leaving the area in October 2020. School friends described her as friendly, popular and a member of school athletic teams. 

Smith, who was scheduled for another preliminary hearing attempt Aug. 2, has had that hearing moved to Aug. 31 before Magistrate Tyler Smith. She faces two criminal charges relating to the death of Taryn — failure to notice or delay notification of a death; and evidence destruction, alteration or concealment. 

Smith originally was arrested on a murder warrant but the lesser charges were those she was arraigned on in court in April. 

Local law enforcement officials remain silent concerning the case and have yet to reveal any details regarding Taryn's death, nor the toxicology reports requested. 

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