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Roommate shares moments before Toney went into creek with Baby Grace

Jennifer Brunner, Tonney's roommate Jennifer Brunner, Tonney's roommate
Jennifer Brunner Jennifer Brunner

SOCASTEE, SC (WMBF)-  We know baby Grace’s body was found Thursday afternoon around 50 yards from Sarah Toney’s home. The question many are still wondering is what caused Toney to walk into the creek with her baby.

Jennifer Brunner was Sarah Toney’s roommate for the past eight months. She lived with Toney even before baby Grace was born. Brunner shares her perspective on all of this, and says she was with baby Grace and her mother just hours before they walked out of the house for the creek. Toney then showed up the next day with police and without her baby.

Brunner said police asked her if she recognized the woman in the police car and asked if there was a baby in the house. “I immediately felt this giant hole in my world, because the baby was either with me or her all the time. She was never not with one of us," said Brunner.

Horry County Police say authorities discovered baby Grace’s body during the search Thursday after they removed a large tree from the creek. Search dogs were then able to pick up the scent and divers located the body. Brunner said she still doesn't understand what made Toney walk into the creek. She said, “People don’t put their feet in there to cool off - it’s just that gross. Why she walked in there… I don’t know.”

Brunner shared what the moments were like the night when the three of them were together for the last time. She said, “Around midnight, 1 o' clock in the morning Monday night, we were out here in the living room talking and baby was awake and singing and giggling and smiling, and we were playing with her, so I felt it’s alright to go to bed. I don’t know what happened after that that she did whatever it is she did."

She explained how she was like a mother to baby Grace and did it not because she felt like she had to, but because she wanted to. “Grace was a huge part of my world; she was a bundle of happiness and joy," Brunner said. "I was definitely a huge part in taking care of her and holding her and loving her and playing with her.".

In response to the question, "Do you miss baby Grace?" Brunner said, "A lot. A lot. There is a huge hole in me. Huge.”

During the interview, news that authorities discovering baby Grace's body came out, and Brunner, shocked and upset, ran outside of the home. A press conference was set up right outside. Chief Saundra Rhodes with Horry County Police said, “I want to give thanks to all of the agencies involved in this operation, as well as this wonderful neighborhood that opened their doors to us and their yards and property that enabled us to locate her.”

After receiving this news, Brunner kept repeating how she just wanted to hold baby Grace again.

Related Links:

Body of 5-month-old 'Baby Grace' found, police confirm

Bond denied for mother of missing 'Baby Grace,' search continues

911 call sheds new light on disappearance of Baby Grace

Missing infant's mother has criminal past

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