Neighbor saw suspicious man near area where 6-year-old Sierra Newbold was killed

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 1 2012 11:37 a.m. MDT

Sierra Newbold, pictured in a family photo, was found dead in a canal near her West Jordan home on June 26.

, Family photo

WEST JORDAN — A neighbor told police he saw a man acting oddly before he rode off on a bicycle the morning that 6-year-old Sierra Newbold was kidnapped and killed, according to newly released court documents.

Six sets of search warrants were unsealed Tuesday in 3rd District Court. The warrants reveal new details about the horrific death of Sierra and the arrest of Terry Lee Black, 41.

Black is accused of entering Sierra's house, 2383 W. 7095 South, just after 2 a.m. on June 26 through an open sliding glass door. The incident was captured on the Newbold family's home surveillance camera.

Prosecutors say Black grabbed Sierra and sexually assaulted her in a nearby field that had been blackened from a fire that burned just three days earlier. Sierra's body was later found floating face down in a nearby canal. The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be drowning.

Neighbor Joshua Farnsworth was standing at his kitchen window that overlooked the burned field about 5:30 a.m. that day, when he spotted a man about 50 yards from where Sierra's body was eventually located and 60 yards from where Sierra's pink Sponge Bob pajamas were found in the burnt field, the search warrants state.

"The male was hunched over at the waist holding his hands out in front of him and appeared to be rocking back and forth," investigators wrote.

The man then walked over to an abandoned truck where he picked a bicycle off the ground and rode off, the warrants state. Farnsworth described the man to investigators as having dark skin, a heavier build, short dark hair, wearing a baggy shirt and long shorts below the kneecaps.

Sierra's pink pajama bottoms were found 100 to 150 yards away from where her body was found. Her body was found in the canal along with a purple blanket that was missing from her room. Sierra's body "appeared to have been pushed up into the reeds on the bank of the canal," a warrant states.

Black was arrested after allegedly stealing a car and robbing a bank on Redwood Road three days later. As he walked back to the stolen vehicle in the parking lot after police say he got $100 from a bank teller, he was confronted by Rena Carder who happened to be stopping by the bank at the same time. She recognized the vehicle as her friend's car.

After confronting Black and telling him he wasn't going to take the vehicle again, Black walked off. As he did, Carder took pictures of him on her cellphone.

Black was arrested a short time later. While being interviewed, investigators noted the black soot on his legs was consistent with the burned field where Sierra's clothing was found. His description was also similar to the one given by Farnsworth.

Search warrants were served at Sierra's house, on her parents' vehicles, on one of the boarded-up homes burned by the recent fire, on cellphone towers in the area and on Black himself.

Suspected blood and other DNA evidence was collected from forensic detectives off of Black's shorts and underwear, according to court documents. Detectives also swabbed different parts of Black's body, took fingernail clippings and a cigarette butt, according to court records.

When interviewing Black, police said he told them he had been kicked out of his apartment by his wife but refused to say when or where he had been staying, a warrant states.

When detectives interviewed Gloria Black, Terry's wife, she said he had left their West Jordan apartment — located a short walk away from Sierra's house — on June 20 wearing the same clothes he was wearing when he was arrested on June 29, according to the warrants.

Black is charged with capital murder, child kidnapping and rape, all first-degree felonies, in Sierra's death. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. Black's next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 9.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS