WEST JORDAN, Utah (AP) — A police officer testified Wednesday that a man accused of trying to kidnap a young Utah girl from her bedroom rambled on after his arrest about drug cartels, the FBI and voices coming from a radio.
The testimony by Sandy Police Detective Robert Webb came during a hearing where a judge determined there is sufficient evidence to send 48-year-old Troy Morley to trial on a felony child kidnapping charge.
The Nov. 7 abduction attempt in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy was thwarted by the 5-year-old girl's father, who police said confronted Morley outside the house and persuaded him to give the girl back.
The child was physically unharmed and Morley was later arrested in the neighborhood.
After the hearing, Morley's father, Gary Stokes, apologized on his son's behalf to the girl's parents, Stephanie and Aaron Edson. In a tearful encounter, Stokes said his son was slipped drugs and didn't know what he was doing. He also said his son had been dealing with the deaths of several family members.
The Edsons accepted the apology and offered their condolences to Stokes for what he must be dealing with. However, Stephanie Edson told Stokes that his son tried to take her daughter and must face the consequences for his actions.
Webb testified that the abduction occurred after Morley returned from Nevada and got a hotel room in Sandy because he was tired.
After some bizarre happenings at the hotel, Morley walked into the neighborhood where the Edsons live and began knocking on doors to get help. He told the detective that he found a door ajar at the home of the Edsons, went inside and found the girl in her room. Morley told the girl he needed help and that he was in danger of being killed, Webb testified.
The Edsons, however, dispute leaving a door open and say they don't know how Morely got into the home.
Webb said Morely seemed paranoid and only about half of what Morley said during an interview at police headquarters made sense. Sandy police officer Jacob Knight, who arrested Morley, said Morley acknowledged taking the girl.
Morley sat quietly in court beside his attorney and declined to testify. He has not entered pleas to the charges against him. An arraignment has been set for Feb. 2.
During his testimony, Aaron Edson said Morley was wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt on the frigid night and said he was going to be killed unless he had the girl.
"I want to help you, but you can't take her with you," Edson recalled saying.
Morley eventually handed the girl over to Edson and said, "'I need to get to a church. If anything happens to me, call the FBI.'" Edson testified. He later told a police detective that he thought Morley was either high or insane.
Aaron Edson revealed Wednesday that his daughter has cerebral palsy and has physical limitations that make it difficult for her to walk. That's why he and his wife were alarmed when they woke up at about 4:30 a.m. to hear their daughter talking and the front door opening.
Stephanie and Aaron Edson said after the hearing they're happy the case is moving forward and hopeful that the outcome will bring them some closure. They said their daughter is physically fine but suffering a bit emotionally as memories from the incident come back. They said they are getting her professional help to cope.