Horry County Police Department
November 10, 2015 11:15 AM

A South Carolina woman who allegedly told authorities she had lost her 5-month-old daughter in a creek last week while “trying to find God” was charged with homicide by child abuse on Monday, PEOPLE confirms.

According to a police report, Sarah Lane Toney, 33, of Myrtle Beach, showed up at the back door of a neighbor’s house last Tuesday in soaking wet clothes, claiming she had lost her baby in the adjacent creek.

After the neighbor called cops, Toney allegedly told them she had entered the creek with her daughter, Grace, but had slipped several times in the fast-moving water before ultimately losing control of Grace, the report states.

When cops asked Toney why she had brought her five-month-old into the water, she allegedly told them initially that it was because Grace was crying. But moments later, the report says, she told cops she did it because “she was trying to find God,” the report states.

Grace’s body was found two days later in the creek.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

According to the report, Toney appeared “to be in emotional distress and exhibited behavior normally associated with the use of methamphetamine” such as twitching and the scratching of skin.

She was arrested immediately and on Monday was charged with homicide after the coroner ruled Grace’s death a homicide.

Grace, the deceased daughter of Sarah Lane Toney
Horry County Police Department

Horry County Deputy Coroner Darris Fowler tells PEOPLE that authorities are still trying to determine the manner of Grace’s death.

“We’re trying to figure out with the pathologist if the child was deceased” prior to being placed in the water, Horry says.

During her bond hearing, Toney said Grace slipped out of her hands in the creek, WLTX reports. Prosecutors told the station that Toney has a criminal history that includes drug charges, and that Toney also has a 9-year-old child but does not have custody of that child.

In a statement to the media and obtained by PEOPLE, Grace’s father, Patrick Olberg, said, “I am heartbroken over the devastating loss of my daughter, Grace. I feel pain and sadness that I never imagined existed. I can only hope and pray that Grace will not be forgotten.”

You May Like

EDIT POST