'Divine intervention' helped police solve case of slain 6-year-old Sierra Newbold, chief says

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  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 19, 2012 1:05 p.m.

    Divine intervention to help find the perp so he can then be executed but no divine intervention to spare this beautiful, innocent girl and her family the horror and her death, a devastation that will last life-times. That sounds about right.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 12, 2012 2:34 p.m.

    SammyB - you need to get a grip. Those who can believe can say whatever they want. If they believe in miracles, they can say it. But don't expect those that don't believe to agree with them - just because people don't believe doesn't mean anything other than it is a different opinion. Plus, there is no right or wrong answer, as it can't be proven one way or another. Nobody can prove it was a miracle, and nobody can prove it wasn't. I lean towards it wasn't a miracle, but great police work and a bit of luck. I don't get offended if somebody disagrees with me - that is their right.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    July 12, 2012 1:39 p.m.

    Sometimes coincidence is Gods way of maintaining plausible deniability.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 12, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    Here is the problem with the whole divine intervention thing. If god can inspire people(the police) to have a hunch and crack a case then why couldn't he have inspired the father to wake up and prevent this in the first place. If you believe that god does sometimes interfere, and sometimes doesn't that wouldn't make sense. How can some people be lucky enough to escape with their lives and some don't? The only answer I can come to is there is no divine intervention. Some people get lucky and live and others don't. Divine intervention has nothing to do with it.

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2012 9:44 p.m.

    Leave it to Ernie since no one else would have said something so insensitive.

  • SammyB Provo, UT
    July 11, 2012 7:39 p.m.

    I am angry at all these judgmental people who don't believe those who believe in God should allow those beliefs to be spoken in a public forum. This kind of thing was a part of normal human discourse from the beginning of time, but now that believers are under such ugly pressure, many are knuckling under to this kind of brain washing.

    To those who believe that no miracle is possible unless the life is saved have absolutely no understanding of the eternities. There is no fairness in this life but perfect fairness in the next. All who suffer will be blessed with incomprehensible happiness forever. Suffering we do not bring on ourselves, as the Apostle Paul explained, brings eternal rewards.

    But most of all, do not let yourself be manipulated into being muzzled by social bullying.

  • runnermo Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 11, 2012 5:05 p.m.

    Divine intervention??? It should have intervened on June 26th.

  • Culture of Rationalization Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2012 2:26 p.m.

    I agree with EPJ that pornography is almost assuredly at the root of this. I would also be surprised if his own background as a child did not have lax parenting.

    When we ask how a person can turn into such a monster, I really think most of us on this planet are capable of amazing heights or unbelievable depths. I am guessing that his own wife and children did not think he was the most incredibly awful husband and father they could imagine, or his wife would have divorced him and taken the kids as far away as possible. He had clearly managed to fool them regarding part of his personality. But because he chose not to bring himself above his base desires for the sake of those around him (and because pornography is legally and quite readily available), he has devastated the lives of Sierra's family, his own family, and many others close to them.

  • toshi1066 OGDEN, UT
    July 11, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    I'm so glad that the family will get closure. But why can't you just credit the intelligence and quick thinking of the humans who worked on the case. Why must the glory and praise be stolen from them and attributed to something unseen? I think the detectives who worked on this case are deserving of every bit of praise we can heap upon them.

  • IMAN Marlborough, MA
    July 11, 2012 1:28 p.m.

    It matters not in this case how the apprehension of the suspect is classified. If the evidence is strong enough to convince a jury "of his peers" beyond a reasonable doubt of his guilt then justice on this earth can be carried out. Whatever justice is delivered I doubt it will do very much to sooth the pain and anguish of this poor girls family.

  • OriginalJoseph Chicago, IL
    July 11, 2012 12:03 p.m.

    Divine intervention would have been saving the poor young girl from the murder in the first place.

    Doesn't surprise me, however, that Utah police would give credit to God for solving the case.

  • georgeman Kearns, UT
    July 11, 2012 11:43 a.m.


    It's not hard to comprehend. I have four kids and sometimes I let them suffer the consequences of their actions or the actions of others taken against my kids. If I step in every time a kid bullies my children, then they will never learn how to deal with a bully.

    I have also helped my kids find their lost shoes at times when they really ask and need them, and other times I have made them find their shoes themselves.

    What has come of this little girls murder is a community united, expressions of compassion toward a family many of us have never met, greater love for our neighbors, an inward look at how much we love our own kids, and many other good things human kind can find from a tragedy. Would we have those things if this tragedy had never happened? Maybe, maybe not, and I am not here to tell you God wanted this to happen to bring a community together.

    The fact is, you can't stop EVERY bad thing in the world, but if you belive in God, you CAN find good from the bad.

  • Leesha Kearns, UT
    July 11, 2012 11:08 a.m.

    So glad they got him.
    Sounds like divine intervention to me. To say it wasn't because if it was divine intervention, then it would have been stopped somehow before he committed this crime is short sighted to say the least. News from around the world on a daily basis indicates terrible things happen, and around here a lot less than other parts of the world. Is God expected to stop all heinous crimes everywhere, before they start? Or do we consider ourselves here to be extra special?
    If he HAD been caught entering the house before he got her out the door, he would be free and out on the streets again pretty quickly.

  • CT98 Saint George, UT
    July 11, 2012 11:02 a.m.

    I wonder if Terry Black spotted Sierra while the neighbors were watching the neighborhood fire on June 23rd. It would be interesting to see if any of the local TV networks have news footage from June 23 of the individuals gathered watching the fire in West Valley City. Its just strange to me that Terry would strike within 48 hours of that incident.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    July 11, 2012 10:41 a.m.

    I've never understood how someone can believe that God will not intervene when a child is being tortured and murdered because, as they put it, God must allow that person his free will. The same people pray that they'll get a new job, or something like that, and God intervenes to bless you for paying your tithing. Has not God impinged on that employer's free will by intervening and causing them to hire you? It's the ultimate level of arrogance, in my mind, to dismiss the real suffering of millions around the world by simply saying, "God must have a purpose," and then simultaneously believe that he's so involved in your affairs as to help you locate your lost car keys.

  • Andy Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 11, 2012 10:40 a.m.

    I thought the picture of Bigelow was a picture of the killer.
    How about a new title: Heroic Cop's Sixth Sense Leads To Arrest.

  • krissy Sterling, VA
    July 11, 2012 10:35 a.m.

    I also cringed when "divine intervention" was cited. While it is fine for the police officer who was so quick to add this up and find closure for this family to claim a higher source inspired him (this time), it insults all police officers who are trained to investigate and work hard on every case to not be able to bring closure and answers to all families.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    July 11, 2012 10:26 a.m.

    To all who are concerned by those who question divine intervention...divine intervention doesn't mean nothing ever bad will happen but it does mean when bad things do happen, God can "intervene" to help, assist, strengthen etc. hence that's why it's called "intervention".

    What can be said for sure is that there is a place in heaven for this little girl, there is a place in hell for this evil man, and God's knowledge and understanding reach further and comprehend much more than this tiny space of time we call "life". It is a poor effort at best to question God with the incredibly small/ finite intelligence we personally possess.

    Incredible credit to the officer who followed his promptings, thus enabling divine intervention.

  • wear2manyhatz Holladay, UT
    July 11, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    Part 2

    As for Black's family...I doubt they were aware that their husband and father was capable of these types of crimes. I hope, for their sake, they are not ostracized by their Ward and neighbors. They need comfort and love, as well.

    I do not agree with the death penalty. Normally, I would say to have him put in solitary for the rest of his life, with no possibility of parole. In this case, let me go into general population. The vast majority of men in jail have no patience for a child killer...

  • wear2manyhatz Holladay, UT
    July 11, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    Part 1

    "Bad Things Happen to Good People", by Rabbi Harold Kushner, and LDS theology,agree that while God can make miracles happen, He, generally, cannot go against the laws of nature. Each person chooses their own path, be it mostly good or mostly evil. Black chose mostly evil.

    None of us can say whether God helped the officers put the pieces together; we weren't in their brains and hearts. Whether or not He did is irrelevant right now. The only important piece is that a murdered, rapist, kidnapper, thief and scofflaw has been captured. I am sad for Black for choosing to commit such despicable acts.

    My compassion and prayers go to little Sierra's family. Sierra is at peace now. Her family still has a lifetime of pain, a trial, and to see justice. For their sake, I hope they can forgive, and not let this tear the rest of their family apart. They will need God's help to do that.

  • georgeman Kearns, UT
    July 11, 2012 10:01 a.m.

    Joe, Utah Bill, Beverly, & Ernest

    If God wanted to stop anything from happeing he would, but then life would have no agency and we would all be doing the same thing with no choices. This monster made a horrific choice and unfortunately took the life a this beautiful little girl. YES, God could have stopped it, however it was not stopped.

    The divine intervention mentioned by the police is nothing short of a miracle. This guy stole the car of a woman, who then went to her bank where she noticed her stolen car. She called police and the police came and arrested the man who just so happened to be wearing clothing with charcoal/soot on them. The police had a sixth sense about this and it led to the discovery that he was Sierra's killer. For these events to happen like this is truly miraculous.

    Would you grow and learn how to love if you never had pain? The pain of this story has brought it close to home for me. I hold my little girls every night now with a greater strencth of love and the knowledge of the true pain the Newbolds must be feeling.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    July 11, 2012 9:46 a.m.

    Let's not get ahead of ourselves with this miracle business. The guy committed a heinous crime that garnered national attention. He then proceeded to steal a car, commit fraud at a bank, all the while wearing the clothes he killed her in. He's either not too bright, or he was on some level hoping to get caught.

    My heart goes out to all those affected by this awful crime, but God had nothing to do with it.

  • SusanTJ Sandy, UT
    July 11, 2012 9:38 a.m.

    Well-written article but . . . should they print the victim's address?

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    July 11, 2012 8:40 a.m.

    God helps those that help themselves. It's because the detective was actually putting in the necessary time on this case that he had enough dots to connect.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    July 11, 2012 8:11 a.m.

    With regards to the divine intervention. I believe that there is a divine balance, an opposition in all things. If God stops bad things from done, he will also have to stop good things from being done. Several years ago a man went into an Amish school and shot several girls. The man was shot or killed himself. Afterwards, the family of the dead girls reached out to the family of the murderer of their daughters and shared . If God had stopped the man, he would have also prevented their families from showing compassion. Whether we live or die is not important in the long view of eternity. God cares about how we deal with others. Feed the hungry, be kind to strangers, visit the ill and the imprisoned.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    July 11, 2012 7:42 a.m.

    I am assuming that the reporter who wrote this article was writing under much pressure to complete it so news of the arrest would be known. I've been a newspaper reporter, but never for something as awful as this, and emotions do affect how a reporter writes. I thought "connecting the dots" was overused, but I wouldn't want to be the one having to impart this news to a huge number of readers. Let's focus on the good work of the detectives, and recognize that unusual events leading to the arrest could be called "miracles" in a broad perspective. Most of all I think we need to be sympathetic to all who knew the victim, and those who are missing her most. So sad.

  • EPJ Grantsville, UT
    July 11, 2012 7:32 a.m.

    As this terrible story unfolds, I predict we will be informed that this man was involved in viewing pornography. So many violent sociopathic killers had their start in viewing pornography.

    @UTAH Bill. This life has been compared to us only being able to see the other side of an embroidery. Part of the "risk" that is this life, is the fact that people have their agency to choose good or evil. If we had all the answers, where would FAITH fit into our lives? Pray for peace and comfort for the family and for yourself too.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 11, 2012 7:26 a.m.

    Wouldn't 'Divine Intervention' have prevented this horrible crime in the first place?

  • Beverly Eden, UT
    July 11, 2012 7:16 a.m.

    Bringing religion into this case has hurt the prosecution's ability to professionally present the evidence at trial. There are bad people in this world and it has nothing to do with God. If God was involved at all, this poor child would have been protected from this horrible behavior in the first place. Calling good police work "Divine Intervention" is unprofessional hurts the quality of good investigation. Religion is becoming a shot of whiskey for the weak minded.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    July 11, 2012 7:12 a.m.

    Of all crimes, this sort is the most heinous of all. The perpetrator deserves all the law and the courts can possibly impose.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    July 11, 2012 6:48 a.m.

    "Black had lived in the neighborhood for about 10 years. His wife and children are active in their LDS ward and attend church services with the Newbold family".


    So the killer has a wife and children that attend the same LDS church as the victim and her family. Mr. Black has made his own family almost as much of a victim as the parents of the child he killed.

    I am left to wonder, how do people do such things. My only answer is that some people come to this earth morally impaired, just as some people come to this earth physically impaired.

    July 11, 2012 6:21 a.m.

    This is what cops do. There's was no intervention from any hidden sky being.

  • UTAH Bill Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2012 6:05 a.m.

    I'm a Christian yet I still cringe a bit when "divine intervention" is referenced in conjunction with a tragedy. For, if the hand of God really is touching this case, why did this happen to begin with?

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    July 11, 2012 5:24 a.m.

    Kudos to the officer who made the connections and the arrest. I would be more persuaded to believe it was divine intervention if the parents had been awakened at 3:00 AM and prevented the kidnapping vs. catching the perp after the fact.

  • Joe Bauman Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2012 1:43 a.m.

    I'm so happy that the arrest was made. But I am kind of disgusted with the loose language of this report. How can you say, without quoting anyone, that the arrest was "nothing short of a miracle"? How can the first paragraph, without attribution, site "possibly even divine intervention" in the arrest? If there were miracles involved, the poor little girl would not have been attacked. Let's lay off all this loose talk of miracles -- as in, someone opining that it was a miracle that certain homes were spared from wildfires. Does that mean other people whose homes were burned were not as deserving of a miracle? The paper is far too quick to declare divine intervention and miracles are involved in too many horrible stories. If there were a bona fide miracle, that in itself would be front-page news throughout the world. And while I'm on my rant, how can this article flatly say "Black entered the Newbold home" without attribution, and later say, "Black allegedly entered Wells Fargo Bank"? Did he definitely enter one place and only allegedly enter the other? Sloppy writing.

  • FredWSJohnson Dayton, NV
    July 10, 2012 11:22 p.m.

    No doubt Chief Diamond sincerely believes this arrest was facilitated by divine intervention, but I'm sure that's small comfort to Sierra's loved ones, who would certainly have wished for an earlier intervention. If I were in Chief Diamond's shoes, I would keep such speculation out of my public comments. Good police work stands on its own merits.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2012 10:05 p.m.

    Again, condolences to the family, commendations to the officer, congratulations to the department.

  • rattler Syracuse, UT
    July 10, 2012 9:59 p.m.

    Such a sad story, what a monster. I'm happy that the officer connected the dots with divine help. I wish the divine intervention had been there before the crime happened.

  • HS Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2012 9:54 p.m.

    Peace be to all those affected by this terrible crime.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2012 8:45 p.m.

    This is what court trials are for. If the DA feels confident that they have enough evidence to prosecute, then go for it.

    Re the claim of "divine intervention," exactly what message are you sending to the parents who've lost children and whose prayers _weren't_ answered? Were they somehow less worthy of "divine intervention" than this particular family?

    Please - enough of the useless mumbo-jumbo about divinity. As the article described, it was a combination of tireless, professional police work and a lucky break that caught this guy. Random occurrences sometimes lead to favorable outcomes - no divinity is required.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 10, 2012 5:00 p.m.

    In a case like this the only thing close to justice is the death penalty. If the case is as strong as it sounds there should be no plea deal. He should have the same fear she felt moments before she died. That is what he will feel leading up to his punishment. Nothing else is justice.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    July 10, 2012 4:40 p.m.

    Poor little girl. She was so young and had to face the terrors of rape and death at her tender age. I hope that angels took her before that monster was done with her. Rest in peace sweet little one. Condolences and prayers go out to the family.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2012 4:23 p.m.

    Swift trial please!!!

  • IndeMak South Jordan, UT
    July 10, 2012 4:09 p.m.

    This is just horrible on so many levels. As a parent, I cannot imagine the grief they must be feeling right now. I do know that she is in a better place.

    This monster has no place he can hide anymore. Not from the police, the inmates that don't take well to men that hurt children, the judge, jury and God. I'm glad that I am not the Judge for this guy.

  • trekker Salt Lake, UT
    July 10, 2012 3:47 p.m.

    I am glad they caught him. I wish they would have caught the man that raped the news paper girl on 2200 west and about 8000 S in December 1997. a lot of similarities in these 2 cases both by the same canal. makes me wonder. I hope the run his DNA through a computer to see if he raped anyone else etc. Good Job WJPD on Sierra's Case.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    July 10, 2012 3:46 p.m.

    But whoever shall offend one of these little ones who believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea

  • dtellstarr2002 Taylorsville, UT
    July 10, 2012 11:47 a.m.

    I am so happy that there is some action on this horrific case! I HOPE they have some solid news!