Michael Yoder

UTAH STATE PRISON — A man convicted of kidnapping a 5-year-old girl in 1993, sexually abusing her, trying to kill her and then tying her up and stuffing her in a box in a closet will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole said in a decision released Monday that Michael Yoder will never be released. The parole board made its decision without commenting further.

Yoder, 49, appeared before the parole board on Nov. 6, blaming the horrific crime on alcoholic blackouts, an addiction to pornography and even his unemployment.

"I don't see me doing it again," he told the parole board.

The family of Yoder's victim — who is now a 19-year-old college student — said she still suffers emotional scars from the kidnapping.

"He may have little blackouts and not recall the situation, but my daughter recalls everything," said the girl's mother, who did not wish to be identified at the hearing.

Yoder was sentenced to 15 years-to-life in prison for child kidnapping and a nine years-to-life term for aggravated sex abuse of a child. In 1993, West Valley City police said Yoder snatched the girl, who was taking out the trash, and dragged her back to his apartment.

There, police said, Yoder sexually abused her, wrapped her body in duct tape and tried to drown her in a toilet. All this while the girl's family and hundreds of neighbors were frantically searching for her. He then stuffed her in a box in a closet until police searched his apartment and found the girl.

During Yoder's parole hearing, the board called the crime "every parent's nightmare."

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