At 3:05 a.m. on June 26, a home surveillance video shows a man entering the West Jordan home of the Newbold family.
The video shows him leaving eight minutes later carrying something, court documents say. Police and prosecutors believe that man was Terry Lee Black. They say he was carrying the Newbold's 6-year-old daughter, Sierra, whose body was found about five hours later in a nearby canal.
The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office on Tuesday charged Black, 41, with aggravated murder, child kidnapping and rape of a child. The murder charge carries a possible death sentence. Black is being held at the Salt Lake County jail in lieu of $2 million bail.
The district attorney, Sim Gill, and West Jordan Police Chief Doug Diamond on Tuesday held a press conference describing the crime and how good fortune and good police work pointed to Black, who became a suspect in the murder after being arrested in a bank robbery June 29.
Police "did not lose hope," Gill said. "They maintained their professionalism. They maintained their vigilance."
But it wasn't clear why Black would have picked the Newbolds or Sierra. Black lived in an apartment about a half-block from their home and attended the same Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ward as the Newbolds, Diamond said, but there's no evidence he was ever at their home.
Diamond said when he showed the Newbold family Black's photo Tuesday, they at first didn't recognize him. "They were shocked and concerned at the same time," Diamond said.
Sierra's mother called police after finding a sliding door open and Sierra missing from her bed about 7:10 a.m., the court documents say. She told police she had last seen her daughter at 10:30 the night before. The Newbolds had a video camera keeping surveillance of their home. It showed a person entering and exiting through a sliding glass door at the rear of the home near 2400 West and 7100 South.
Police later found clothing belonging to the girl pink pajama bottoms and her underwear in a field near the canal, which had been blackened by a recent fire. A police officer found Sierra's body at 8:22 a.m. in a canal about a block from her home.
Assistant Utah Medical Examiner Julie Adams, who performed the autopsy, found evidence that someone tried to strangle Sierra, but she died by drowning, court documents say. Diamond on Tuesday said police do not know the details of the last minutes of Sierra's life.
Adams also found contusions on the side of Sierra's face, under each eye and on several areas on her back, according to the charges. Also, Adams and Karen Hansen, of Primary Children's Medical Center, saw evidence of sexual assault.
Police investigated the case for three days. But then on June 29, an odd set of events led to Black.
A woman reported her 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee stolen from a Deseret Industries parking lot at 7166 S. Redwood Road and told her boss about it. Later that day, Black arrived at a Wells Fargo Bank branch seven blocks from the Deseret Industries store. Court documents say he walked into the bank and told the teller he needed $100. When the teller asked to see some identification, Black stated, "This is a robbery," court papers say.
The teller handed him $100, but charging documents say Black asked for $4,000. The teller said she needed to go to the vault. When she turned around, Black had walked out of the bank.
Just then, the boss of the woman who owns the stolen Jeep happened to arrive in the bank parking lot to deposit a check and recognized the Jeep. Court papers say she confronted Black and told him to get away from the Jeep. Black walked away. The boss and the bank manager both took photos of Black with their cellphones. Black was arrested three blocks away.
When West Jordan police Detective James Bigelow, who had been investigating Sierra's murder, heard the report of the bank robbery, he went there.
"When he heard about this robbery, the hair stood up on the back of his neck, and he knew he needed to go," Diamond said.
Bigelow noticed Black had black stains on his hands, knees and elsewhere on his clothing that looked liked they were from the burned field, Diamond said.
After Black's arrest, a swab from his genitals was obtained and compared to DNA from Sierra's body. Examiners at the Utah State Crime Laboratory subsequently found Sierra's DNA profile on the swab taken from Black, according to charges.
"Miracles do happen," Diamond said. "I'm not going to say it wasn't divine intervention. I myself believe it was divine intervention."
Robbery and vehicle-theft charges were filed July 2 against Black. Both charges are felonies carrying up to 15 years in prison.
News of the arrest brought both rage and relief to Sierra's neighbors, who said they have been leaving lights on at night and struggling to sleep since her death.
"It's all you think about when you wake up and when you go to bed," said Peter Fiagle, who lives around the corner from the Newbolds and whose wife is a cousin of the family. "A dark cloud has been hanging over us, and now I feel like the cloud is being lifted."
But as details of the attack emerged Tuesday, confusion and anger took the place of fear. Fiagle said neighbors had been quietly taking stock of each other and searching memories for any suspicious behavior; it didn't occur to anyone to suspect Black.
"To be quite honest, you speculate. You profile," Fiagle said. "Nobody I talked to ever even mentioned him."
Black had made a few appearances at church events since his wife and two teenage children were baptized about a year and a half ago, Fiagle said. Before Tuesday, there were no indications or even rumors that Black might be violent, Fiagle said.
Now neighbors are left to guess at the thought process behind the attack on Sierra, Fiagle said.
"Was this premeditated? Spontaneous? Opportunist, what with the fires and fences being burned down?" he asked.
Other neighbors were less interested in the killer's mentality.
"You kill a kid, you need to die," said neighbor Brandon Gines.
Black's first court appearance in the robbery case is scheduled for Thursday in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City. An attorney representing Black in that case did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.
Black is to be arraigned Friday morning in the murder case.
Black's criminal history does not include sex crimes. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to burglary of a vehicle, a misdemeanor. An additional charge of burglary of a vehicle, two counts of criminal mischief and one count of intoxication were dismissed as part of a plea deal.
Tribune reporter Jessica Miller contributed to this story
Fundraiser for family
The staff of Carver's Steaks & Seafood are hosting a fundraiser to assist the family of Sierra Newbold, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 28 at the restaurant, 10720 S. Holiday Park Drive in Sandy. There will be a yard sale, bake sale, a silent auction, live music, a bounce house & ID CARDS for the kids and a barbecue. Visit carversutah.com for more information.