SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Troy Ward was a shy little boy and was looking forward to celebrating his sixth birthday.
But he never reached that young milestone.
“He was really quiet,” said his mother Cheryl Sorensen. “He slept through the night when I brought him home (from the hospital).”
Troy grew up in a home near 300 E. and 800 S. in Salt Lake City.
His mother said her little Troy loved being with his brother and made friends in the neighborhood. One of his many friends was a disabled boy who couldn’t talk.
“Troy would give him ice cream and he would (clicking sound with his tongue) when he would want more ice cream and he would have him sit on his lap and feed him ice cream. He thought that was cool.”
The 6-year old was about to start first grade in 1983. Troy had been in headstart and his mother said he loved school, especially the rides on the school bus.
“He loved getting on the bus,” she said. “He thought he was a big kid. And I thought ‘oh my baby is growing up.’”
Sorensen said they’d just moved into the neighborhood and was attracted to it because it had the right appearance for her young family.
“It looked like a quiet neighborhood,” she said. “And it was really.”
But little did she know there was a predator in the midst.
On Troy’s birthday, Sorensen needed to go shopping at the local store. It was about a 10 minute walk from her home. She left Troy at home. A neighbor across the street said she would check in on him.
“When I left to go to the store, it was his birthday,” recalled Sorensen. “I was getting ice cream to go with his cake and there was a car parked in front of the house and I didn’t think nothing of it.”
When she returned, that same car she noticed when she departed was pulling away from the curb. It would be years later that she learned of the details.
“He offered Troy an ice cream and got Troy to get into the car,” she said.
Soon police learned there was another boy missing in Salt Lake.
“I was really out of it, worried and I prayed,” Sorensen said.
Witnesses claimed they saw him on State Street. Another told police he was at Liberty Park. But a week later, police said they were “back to square one” after interviewing Sorensen’s boyfriend.
For weeks, Sorensen stayed at her home, rarely coming out and worried sick about her Troy.
“When I prayed, something told me that Troy was safe and he wouldn’t be hurt no more,” she said. “And so I had that comfort you know of that.
It would be 33 days before Sorensen finally understood those words.
Wednesday night as the Justice Files continues with “5 boys,” another boy is taken in broad daylight at a grocery store.