WEST JORDAN, Utah — A man accused of snatching a 5-year-old girl from her Sandy bedroom last year pleaded guilty to child kidnapping during a court hearing Monday.
Troy Morley, 48, appeared in a West Jordan courtroom for a pretrial conference where he admitted to walking into the home of the Edsons on Nov. 7 and taking
their child from her room and leaving the house.
Morley will be placed on the sex offender and kidnapping registry as part of the plea deal.
Morley was traveling from Nevada back to northern Utah when he stopped to stay at a Sandy hotel the night the kidnapping occurred, said prosecutor Nathan Evershed.
At some point during the night, Morley started to wander around a nearby neighborhood when he walked into the Edson home. Morley admitted in court he was on drugs at the time of the incident.
Once inside the home, Evershed said, Morley walked downstairs and found the Edsons’ 5-year-old daughter sleeping in her room.
The prosecution says Morley spoke with the girl and convinced that she needed to go with him. At that point, the prosecution states, Morley carried the upstairs and left the house.
Official documents state Aaron Edson got out of bed after hearing noises and his stepdaughter’s voice, which he said was odd so early in the morning.
Authorities said Edson found Morley carrying his stepdaughter from the house.
According to court documents, Edson told Morley to give him his stepdaughter and he agreed.
Evershed said Morley’s motive is unclear.
“At the end of the day we still have someone who went into a house, took a little girl from her own bedroom and left the house with her,” Evershed said. “For such conduct that does require some type of response, some type of judicial response.”
Evershed thinks Monday’s response was fair and just.
Edson and his wife Stephanie were also in court. They told reporters they plan to save their comments for the sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for Oct. 26.
Morley was also originally charged with burglary, criminal trespass and interference with arresting officer.
These charges were dismissed without prejudice.