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Sandy • Police, aided by search dogs, apprehended a man alleged to have randomly snatched a 5-year-old girl from the bed of her home early Friday morning.
Sandy police Sgt. Dean Carriger said that it appears the suspect a stranger to the family had been "roaming the neighborhood, checking their doors" when he found an unlocked at the home near 10600 S. Rembrandt Lane (90 East) about 4:30 a.m. Friday.
The intruder then went downstairs, came across the sleeping girl and took her from her bedroom. The parents woke up due to noise made by the man as he opened the front door. The child's stepfather went to investigate and saw the man carrying the child across the lawn and away from the home.
Carriger said the stepfather, screamed words to the effect, "What are you doing, that's my daughter, you're not taking her!," and confronted the suspect, who relinquished the child and ran away as the parents called 911.
Carriger said police officers and Salt Lake City police blood hounds quickly set up a search perimeter, and a suspect later identified as 48-year-old Troy Mitchell Morley, of Roy was apprehended about an hour later at a home a few blocks from the girl's house.
Officers were doing yard searches in the area when a woman was awakened by her dog barking in the basement. After seeing Morley who had entered through a dog door to elude capture the woman ran outside yelling to officers, "He is in my house," according to a probable cause statement filed with the Salt Lake County jail.
Morley ran from the home and was encountered by officers, who ordered him to surrender. When Morley refused, police dogs were released, resulting in bites to his shoulder and upper right arm, according to the probable cause statement.
Carriger said Morley was taken to a hospital for treatment of the bites.
Later Friday, attorney Miles Holman, representing the girl's parents, Aaron and Stephanie Holladay Edson, said the child was not physically harmed during the episode.
"There was no harm to the child physically, the child appears to be happy," Holman said, adding: "This has been an anxiety producing day... It's a nice family. They seem to be doing well considering the circumstances today."
Noting that the Edsons woke up in time to stop the kidnapping, Holman said, "I think this was a small miracle maybe a large miracle."
The girl's parents declined to comment.
Carriger said investigators are "fairly certain" that the family and Morley did not know each other.
"There are no ties between Mr. Morley and this family or its home," Carriger said. "This appears to have been a random act, not targeted at them or their house."
He said the motive for the abduction and the intentions of the suspect toward the child were not known.
After Morley was released from the hospital, he was questioned by detectives until about noon, when he was transported to the Salt Lake County Jail for booking on suspicion of child kidnapping, burglary, criminal trespass, interfering with an arresting officer and failure to stop at the command of a police officer.
A check of Utah court records shows Morley has a 2011 conviction for class B misdemeanor impaired driving in the South Salt Lake justice court, for which he was sentenced to 10 days in jail. He also has a 2009 conviction for class B misdemeanor impaired driving in the Syracuse justice court, for which he served two days in jail.
He is not listed in the state's sex offender registry.