SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Prosecutors announced murder and child rape charges against Terry Lee Black in connection with the sexual abuse and death of 6-year-old Sierra Newbold on Tuesday.
"Miracles do happen," says West Jordan Police Chief Doug Diamond. "I'm not going to say it's divine intervention, but I myself say divine intervention"
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill made the announcement at a news conference.
Gill told reporters that Black was charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape.
Gill said investigators processed forensic evidence found at the scene and through an autopsy. He said 41-year-old Black was traced through separate car theft and bank robbery investigations, in which officers checked on him due to his home address being so close to the scene where Sierra Newbold's body was found in a canal on June 26
Police later said Sierra's body showed evidence of sexual assault
Gill said the autopsy showed the cause of Sierra's death to be drowning, but that she had also been strangled prior to her death.
Gill said investigators collected DNA samples from Black that matched DNA evidence found inside Sierra's body and then processed forensic evidence found at the scene and through an autopsy.
"Swabs from Mr. Black's p**** were obtained and compared to those found on Sierra's body," Gill said.
A probable cause affidavit included in the charging document against Black said that Sierra Newbold's mother reported her missing when she found that she was not in her bed at 8:22 on the morning of June 26.
The affidavit said that the Newbold family had a video surveillance system that caught an image of a person entering the Newbold home through a sliding glass door at 3:05 a.m. and leaving the home, carrying something at 3:13 a.m.
"The police responded and searched the area and within the area located sierra's pink pajama bottom and underpants in a burned out field a short distance from Sierra's home," Gill says.
The affidavit said that after investigators arrived, they found Sierra's underwear and part of her pajamas in a burned-out field near the Newbold home. A short time later, the affidavit said that officers found Sierra's body floating face-down in the canal, and that some of the blackened field debris was found on her body and clothing.
The statement said that Black was arrested in connection with an investigation into a car that was stolen from a Deseret Industries parking lot at 7166 South Redwood Road on June 29. The statement also said that Black was being investigated for the robbery of a Wells Fargo bank at 7869 South Redwood Road on that occurred on the same day.
Police say a tip from an alert citizen led to Black's arrest in the robbery and theft cases.
During Tuesday's news conference, police said charred debris that matched the burned field near the Newbold home was found on Black.
"He still had charcoal on him," Chief Diamond says. "His hands and knees were blackened from what we believe is charcoal from field."
The work of West Jordan detective, James Bigelow was praised for his efforts in sensing that a bank robbery suspect was someone to keep an eye on.
"This crime could have totally gone in a different direction had it not been able for him to see beyond the obvious and connect the dots," said Chief Diamond.
Black was charged in Salt Lake's 3rd District court with First Degree Felony Aggravated Murder, First Degree Felony Kidnapping and First Degree Felony Child Rape. His bail was set at $2,000,007.00.
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