Utah Dad Confronts Kidnapper And Saves 5-year-old Daughter

A Utah dad thwarted an attempt by an intruder to kidnap his 5-year old daughter from her bed early Friday after confronting the intruder, who was carrying her across the lawn.

The child wasn’t hurt in the terrifying ordeal, but the incident does evoke a haunting similarity of when 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was snatched out of her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002. She was held captive for nine months before being found.

According to the Associated Press, the suspect entered the home through an unlocked door at about 4:30 a.m., in Sandy, a middle-class suburb south of Salt Lake City, Police Sgt. Dean Carriger said.

The intruder was in the family’s basement searching through things when he came upon the girl sleeping in her bedroom, Carriger said. The suspect took her out of bed and carried her upstairs, making noises that woke the parents.

The girl’s father went to the door and saw the man carrying his daughter in the front lawn. He ran outside and confronted the man, asking him what he was doing and demanding that he give back his little girl.

The suspect handed her over to her father without confrontation, Carriger said.

The suspect then fled, and the father called 911.

Officers set up a perimeter, and with the help of police dogs launched a search. The suspect went into a second home two blocks away through a doggy door in an attempt to evade capture. The dogs at that house alerted the residents, who alerted police in the area to come get him.

Police captured the 48-year-old man outside the second home thanks to a police dog that bit the suspect in the upper shoulder, Carriger said.

Morley was arrested and being booked on charges of child kidnapping, burglary, trespassing, and resisting arrest, he said.

Carriger said the family is doing pretty well considering what happened. A man who answered the door at the one-story house said the family wasn’t ready to talk about their experience.

“It obviously was a very scary, traumatic situation,” Carriger said. “The sanctity of our home is huge and for somebody to enter that and grab your child, it’s got to be one of the worst nightmares a parent could face… If those parents were not awakened to go out and investigate, he could have easily left undetected with the girl.”

The family told police they had never seen and don’t know the suspect, who has been identified as Troy Morley of Roy, Utah. Police are still unclear on why the suspect was in the house, and if he had planned it.

Attorney and spokesman for the family, Miles Holman, told NBC News that “This seems to be something that’s totally random.”