If I was the boss my first question would be, "Why were you looking through her trash?" Then I would have a serious talk with you about that whole subject and how it might look.
I mean if you observed she threw it in the trash, you should have said something right there about it. "Excuse me, co-worker that looks like a check!"
However if you were looking for a missing check because your boss said, "Hey we're missing a ~10,000 check and I need you all to look for it." And you found it in the trash, you should have brought it up right there.
Overall I think you lost your edge in this case. In every possible situation good or bad, you should have brought it up right then and there. Right now, the way I understood how it played out was that you were looking at her trash and that looks mighty strange no matter how you cut it. If you noticed the check or somehow was instructed to look for the check, speak up immediately about it and where you found it. Don't finger point just be factual in what you found and where you found it. Let your boss handle it or the co-worker.