Family tragedy averted: '...a miracle occurred here today'

Published: Friday, Nov. 7 2014 8:50 a.m. MST

A child is brought home in Sandy, Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, after an attempted abduction was foiled by the child's father.

Matt Powers, Deseret News

SANDY — "I think that you're going to hear that a miracle occurred here today," said Miles Holman, attorney and spokesman for a family whose 5-year-old daughter was taken from her bed early Friday.

His comments came Friday afternoon as anxiety and relief filled a Sandy neighborhood following the arrest of a man who they said broke into a home, grabbed a 5-year-old girl out of her bed and took her outside before being stopped by the girl's awakened stepfather.

The girl appeared to be physically and emotionally OK, Holman said.

"At this moment she seems pretty healthy and pretty happy," he said. "It has been a very traumatic day."

Police said there does not appear to be any prior connection between the suspect and the girl involved in the rare and random event.

"I don't think they have any idea who he was. He was not a person who was part of their lives. This seems to be something that's totally random," Holman said, identifying the parents of the child as Aaron and Stephanie Edson.

The terrifying events began about 4:30 a.m., when police say 46-year-old Troy Morley entered a house on Rembrandt Lane, went through several rooms and "rummaged through some items," according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.

He then went into the basement where he found a 5-year-old girl sleeping in her bed, the report states.

"Troy woke the child up and instructed her to come with him," according to the report. He then "seized her" from the bed and carried her upstairs and out the front door.

One neighbor said she could hear the girl scream, "No, no, no." She then saw a shadow run by her house.

The girl's parents woke up when they heard their front door opening. Her stepfather rushed outside and discovered his daughter with the man.

"When the father confronted Troy, he gave the child back to the father and fled from the scene," according to the report. During the confrontation, the girl's mother was inside making a frantic 911 call.

"There was a man in my home and he took my 5-year-old daughter," an emotional Stephanie Edson told the 911 dispatcher. "He came in my home. My daughter sleeps in the basement, and took my daughter out of the basement," she said in a quivering voice.

The distraught mother repeated several times that a stranger had walked into her house and taken her child.

"(Morley) was saying that he's messed up, and someone's going to hurt him or something. But he took my daughter from my house," she said in tears. "He said something about he was going to get shot so he took my daughter. I don't know.

"We heard the front door open and I heard (my daughter) talking," she told the dispatcher before apparently turning to her now-retrieved daughter: "Are you OK, honey?"

Police response

Responding officers from the nearby Sandy Police Department set up a perimeter in the neighborhood and began looking for the intruder. Morley entered a second house through a dog door that leads into the basement at 203 E. White River Drive, said Sandy Police Sgt. Dean Carriger.

Tina Olsen was home at the time and said she heard what she thought was her dog downstairs, so she went to investigate.

"I went downstairs, and he was crouched up kind of by the back door with no shirt on. And he just said like, 'Am I bad? Am I in trouble?' I just started screaming and ran up the stairs and told my husband, 'There's a man in the house,'" she said.

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