The St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office on Wednesday filed charges against a Randolph County woman who went missing with her infant son for several hours earlier this week near Marissa.
Sarah N. Donley, 29, of Walsh, was charged with felony aggravated battery of a child and misdemeanor child endangerment. She is being held in the St. Clair County Jail. Her bail was set at $30,000 with a special condition that she is not allowed to have any contact with her children until she makes her first court appearance.
Scott Toth, an investigator with the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, said the boy was found tied up when the pair was found by rescue workers on Monday night. He said that is what led to the felony charge against Donley. If convicted of that charge, Donley could be sent to prison for up to three years.
Emergency responders with several agencies searched for Donley and her son for nearly seven hours on Monday. Police were sent to the scene at Doza Creek Road and Randolph County Line Road around 2:45 p.m. and Donley and her child were found just after 9 p.m. Toth credited a Randolph County Road District worker with helping save the child. Toth said the man saw Donley get into a boat with the child and paddle to the other side of a small pond. The man saw the pair get out of the boat and go into a wooded area.
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“The worker reported that Sarah sounded distraught and made some disturbing comments to him,” Toth said. “This could have turned out very differently had that worker had not seen Sarah and her child.”
Donley and her son were located not far from where they were last seen after getting out of the boat. Donley and the child had non-life-threatening injuries when they were found and were taken to a nearby hospital.
According to the Randlolph County Circuit Clerk’s website, Donley was charged with a methamphetamine possession charge on Sept. 6. She has pleaded not guilty and was free on bond in the case. She is scheduled to appear in court in that case on Thursday.