The Utah parents whose 5-year-old daughter was taken from their home say “divine providence” played a hand in keeping them calm and getting her back when her father confronted the suspect.
Stephanie and Aaron Edson were in New York City on Monday, just days after they say they awoke to hear someone in their suburban Salt Lake City home leaving with their daughter Lainey.
Aaron Edson said that when he ran outside Friday morning and saw the man, his gut instinct told him to remain as calm as possible. He said he normally would have yelled and been agitated.
The Edsons said their daughter also remained calm throughout the encounter.
“I believe he would have tried to harm her if she would have been screaming or anything else,” Stephanie Edson said.
Lainey told her mother she sat up when a man came into her room, Stephanie Edson said. The child told the man: “Excuse me. I need to get some more sleep,” the mother said. The man told Lainey he needed a church and she tried to give him directions. “She was just trying to help him,” Stephanie Edson said.
Aaron Edson said when he went outside, he approached the man and asked him who he was. The man turned around and told him he was in trouble, that he needed the child with him or else he would be killed and that he needed to get to a church, Edson said. “I said, ‘I want to help you, but you can’t take her,’” Edson told the Associated Press.
The man responded with a sigh and handed the child over.
“My thoughts were not my normal thoughts and normal way of dealing,” Edson said. “I was overcome with something I believe to be divine intervention.”
He said he felt if he had yelled and screamed at the man, “something horrible would have happened.”
Forty-eight-year-old Troy Morley of Roy, Utah, was arrested about two blocks away in another home in Sandy, Utah, that police say he broke into; he remained jailed Monday on charges of child kidnapping, burglary, trespassing and resisting arrest.
The Edsons, who said they don’t know how the man got into their home, said their daughter is doing fine and doesn’t seem traumatized by the encounter.
Stephanie Edson declined to comment on a punishment for the perpetrator but said, “There are consequences for his actions and he deserves them.”