A Mother's Intuition Thwarts Kidnapping
A mom called 911 moments after her mother's intuition woke her up in the middle of the night, just as her five-year-old daughter was snatched from her own bed.
In the call she said, "There was a man in my home and he took my five-year-old daughter."
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The parents, Stephanie and Aaron Edson, spoke out Monday to INSIDE EDITION about saving little Lainey from the arms of 48-year-old Troy Morley. He has been charged with kidnapping, but has not yet entered a plea.
Aaron told INSIDE EDITION, “It was a blessing that she was woken up just out of her own volition so early.”
Stephanie said, “I remember opening up my eyes and thinking, ‘I am so wide awake. I am with it. I am not groggy.”
Aaron joked, “And it is only 4:07.”
Stephanie replied, “I looked at my cell phone and it said 4:07, and I was like ‘huh!’ Because I was awake, I heard a noise.”
Stephanie said her daughter has a distinctive way of walking due to a minor handicap and she didn't hear her daughter's footsteps, which led her to believe Lainey was being carried.
An emotional Stephanie said, “She has a different gait pattern than you or I. She has a little physical challenge with that. So, I recognize her footsteps anywhere. I immediately knew that I didn’t hear footsteps but I heard her little voice. Then, I heard her voice trailing away. I ran downstairs, when I got downstairs, I saw that her door was open and we had closed it and her light was on and her bed was empty.”
It was Lainey's brave stepdad, Aaron, who ran outside their home near Salt Lake City.
INSIDE EDITION’s Megan Alexander asked, “What did you see.”
He said, “I saw the back of his head walking away from our home, but Lainey’s head and feet on either side of him. He was carrying her, cradling her.”
Aaron is earning praise for calming getting the intruder to hand over Lainey.
Aaron told INSIDE EDITION, “I said, ‘I want to help you, but you got to leave her here. She has got to stay here.’ At this point, I got close enough to him, speaking softly and reaching out my arms. He sighed and handed her over.”
The suspect fled on foot and a neighbor found him in her basement. She said, "He didn't have a shirt on and said, 'Am I in trouble? Am I bad?"
INSIDE EDITION spoke to Sergeant Dean Carriger of the Sandy Utah Police Department. He said,
"This is a very traumatic situation anytime someone tries to abduct your child. It is a parent’s worst nightmare. This father tried to reach out in a calm way which turned out to be a very effective manner."
In the 911 call, the mother could be heard trying to grapple with the horror of what could have happened to Lainey, saying, "She looks like she's still dressed and everything. Oh my God."
Stephanie and Aaron have an alarm system, but it wasn't activated. INSIDE EDITION’s Megan Alexander headed to a home in the New York area with safety expert Peter Moreno of KH Security.
He replied, "Right here, they have an alarm system. This is great because it is hooked up to the police, instant notification. Also, when you open the door, it beeps, alerts the occupants, and also has a bell. You have these layers of protection, and of course, don't forget to lock your front door."
Lainey's bedroom is in the basement. Her parents were sleeping on a higher floor.
Alexander asked, "Baby monitors, not just for babies?"
Moreno said, "Great tool! Not at all, this child was five years old, I think it would have helped, anything you can do to increase your awareness."
Lainey's home is just 15 miles from where Elizabeth Smart lived when she was snatched from her own bed in the middle of the night in 2002. Elizabeth was found alive, nine months later.
Lainey's parents say that the girl is blissfully unaware of how lucky the girl is to be safe today.
Stephanie said, “I am like, ‘Are you okay!?’ I am checking her and she is like, ‘I am probably will stay up till morning.’”