How These Parents Saved Daughter From an Alleged Kidnapping

Aaron and Stephanie Edson say they negotiated with an accused kidnapper who police say stole their 5-year-old from her bed.
7:23 | 11/11/14

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Transcript for How These Parents Saved Daughter From an Alleged Kidnapping
It's the kind of thing they make horror movies about. An unknown intruder kidnapping your child out of your own home. Stranger abductions are rare in America, but this is exactly what police say happened to a family in Utah just days ago. A little girl snatched out of her bed. And what transpired next was truly extraordinary. Tonight, in an ABC news exclusive, you're going to hear the story from the parents first hand. A beautiful 5-year-old girl caught up in a nightmare. There was a man in my home and he took my 5-year-old daughter. Reporter: This story starts on a quiet street in sandy, Utah, in this nice home in the mild of the night with one mother's intuition. I woke up and I remember being wide awake. I opened my eyes and I was completely mentally alert. And I glanced over and grabbed my cell phone and it was 4:07. Reporter: Then, Stephanie Edson hears her daughter's voice in the hallway. But it's what she doesn't hear that sets off alarm bells. She talks a lot. And she just -- she just does and it's so precious. At that moment, that I knew was the problem is, I didn't hear her footsteps, because she has a minor disability where she has a gait pattern that's unique. Her walking style is a little bit different than yours or mine. And it was missing. Reporter: Then she hears the front door close. I screamed to Aaron, I said, she's outside, she's outside. Reporter: As her husband, Aaron, runs outside, Stephanie sprints to Lainey's bedroom. Reporter: Her door was open and her light was on and her little bed with her purple sheets was empty. As soon as I saw the front door ajar, I knew there was something wrong. Reporter: As Aaron runs outside, he says he's overtaken by a strange impulse. The impulse to remain calm rather than aggressive. I got outside, moving very quickly, got to the end of our driveway when I didn't see her there and saw a man holding our child, who I didn't recognize. Reporter: That man, he says, is troy Morley. He's behaving erratically and wearing shorts, even though it's 40 degrees outside. He gave me a story that he was in trouble. And that if he had her with him, they wouldn't kill him. But that if he didn't have her, then, you know, they were going to shoot him. And if anything happened to him, we needed to call the FBI. And I said, okay, well, I want to help you, but you can't take her. And he just let out a big sigh and I stretched out my arms to take her and he just handed her over. Neither of our voices were ever raised. Fortunately. Because Lainey didn't ever take it as a huge traumatic moment. It was just, fortunately, a very peaceful exchange. Rrl within seconds, Stephanie arrives on the scene. She looked at me and I just grabbed her and I ran right back into the house and immediately called 911. I happened to wake up and he had my daughter outside and my husband ran out there and got him from her. We don't know who this person is and he had my daughter. We're getting police ofcers out there right now, snok. Reporter: The cops arrive in minutes and start searching. Not far away, neighbor Tina Olsen founds Morley in her basement. And I stood right here, like this, and I saw a man and he was just, like, right here, just kind of like this, with no shirt on and trying to hide. Reporter: Morley has now been charged with, among other things, kidnapping, burglary and criminal trespass. Morley, who is 46, did not as far as we can tell, start having many run-ins with the law until the last few years. In January, he declared bankruptcy and his life seemed to begin unraveling. He was accused but not convicted of sexual assault. Police were called multiple times to his house for reports of fights with his wife. And then a neighbor says she found Morley in her backyard, staring at her son through the window. He was just in shorts, no shoes, it was cold. He had no swelter on. And then my husband came looking around and he hid in our neighbor's yard until the cops showed up and then the cops just kind of let him go. Reporter: He was never charged in that incident, or in any other incident. But he did tell police he'd be using meth and was later, ard cording to police reports, briefly taken to a sigh Ya trick facility. Little Lainey, in the end, was unharmed. Her parents say she's now just as chatty as ever. It's not a defining moment in her life, which is, as a mother, the thing I pray for the most is that she's not forever traumatized. Reporter: The Edson's credit Aaron's calm demeanor who is her step-dad, during that encounter with troy Morley. If I had come out the way I naturally would, with intensity and anger, he could have aggravated, too. And he had all the power in that situation. He had our daughter in his hands. Had I done that, horrible things could have happened. Reporter: Former FBI profiler brad Garrett agrees that Aaron's demeanor made all the difference. The last thing you want to do is to be so confrontation all your child is harmed. Reporter: For the edsons, who is devout more mores so, mso many lessons come out of this. Including mother's instinct. It's boundless. Yeah. It is. You just have to learn to go with it and you have to learn to trust it and I believe that, you know, heavenly father has given me the ability to trust it. And if you have a woman who feels those things, you trust that woman. That's my big take away from this. She was right. And as much as, you know, I hope she doesn't use that against me in the future. This is not a she said, she was Wright thing. This is not going to come up later when I want to watch something different on TV. Reporter: It's amazing to me that you can still have a sense of humor. It's -- you know, I -- we're generally pretty happy, jovial people, but it will never be quite the same for me. We will always be very, very protective and very guarded. Reporter: In fact, the edsons have already upgraded their home security. They had mistakenly left open their kitchen door that night. Now, they have alarms and security cameras. They also say the holidays will take on new meaning this year. What is this Thanksgiving going to be like this year? It's going to be a lot of tears. We had to live through it for maybe 30 seconds. Yeah. Other people have to live with it for the rest of their lives and our hearts go out to them. We don't feel that we're more worthy than anyone else to have this blessing, but we have it and we're going to enjoy it. And we are grateful. Grateful for it. And at this point, the kidnapping suspect has not entered a plea yet and it's not clear when he will appear in front of a judge.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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