Utah man charged with snatching 5-year-old girl from bedroom

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 12, 2014 5:03 PM

(Reuters) - A man accused of abducting a sleeping 5-year-old Utah girl from her bed before being quickly apprehended was charged on Wednesday with felony charges of child kidnapping and burglary, authorities said.

Troy Morley, 48, was arrested before dawn on Friday just blocks from the child's house in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City, after being challenged on the front lawn by the child's stepfather and relinquishing the girl, police said.

Police suspect him of entering the house through an unlocked side or rear door and taking the girl from a downstairs bedroom. They said the attempted kidnapping was only foiled because the stepfather heard the front door opening.

Morley is being held in the Salt Lake County Jail with bail set at $2 million. On Wednesday, he was formally charged with child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and burglary, a second-degree felony, the Sandy Police Department said.

He was also charged with two misdemeanors: criminal trespassing, and interfering with an arresting officer.

Police have said Morley was not known to the family and that the attempted abduction appeared to be a random act.

The incident evoked memories of the Elizabeth Smart case, in which a 14-year-old girl was kidnapped from her bed at knifepoint in Salt Lake City in 2002. Smart was found alive in Sandy nine months later. Her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, is serving two life terms after being convicted in federal court.

(Reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver; Editing by Peter Cooney)