Baby Grace trial set for this spring

“Baby Grace” gets headstone bought by community

OCASTEE, S.C. (WBTW)- It’s been a year since 5-month-old Baby Grace was reported missing.

On November 3, 2015, a neighbor who lives off Shem Creek Circle called 911. The caller told dispatchers, Sarah Lane Toney, came to the door and stated she went into the creek with her baby.

“I have a bit of a weird situation. I had a girl just walk up on the back side of my porch from the river, the creek. And I asked her if she [unintelligible] just wanted to call someone. And she said yeah, just try to find someone, and she said take us to the hospital. Now she’s saying call the police because she just came to the river and had a baby with her. And now she doesn’t have a baby. I’m not sure if she wants something. I have no idea, but you need to send someone over here please,” the emergency caller urges.

That 911 call began a two-day searching ending with crews finding the body of the 5-month-old in a Socastee creek not far from the home the initial 911 was made.

That discovery and following investigation led police to charge Toney with unlawful neglect of a child and homicide by child abuse in Baby Grace’s death. However, a year later, not much progress has been made in the case.

“At this point we are looking at a trial date, I’m going to say spring of next year. Unfortunately we’ve got a lot of other cases in front of it and there were some things I can’t go into, but it took a while to get to this point where it’s ready for trial,” 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said.

News13 obtained court documents that show a judge ordered Toney to undergo a mental evaluation to determine if she could stand trial. The documents describe a history of mental health problems. It was not revealed to us what that evaluation found.

“I can just say that we are looking at going forward in probably March at least the spring of next year. So I can’t really go into the testing or any of that stuff that went on.”

Solicitor Richardson says with a trial date set will move forward in their preparations and sending out more than 200 questionnaires.

“It’ll really heat up as we get close to the trial date, that’s when we’ll put forth the witness list and saying this arraignment is this date.”

Toney remains in the J Reuben Long Detention Center.

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