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SALT LAKE CITY – A man has been arrested in the death a 6-year-old Utah girl after authorities say he sneaked into her home through a sliding glass door in the middle of the night, then raped and killed the child.
Terry Lee Black, 41, has been charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape of a child, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Tuesday.
Police in West Jordan, about 15 miles south of Salt Lake City, say Sierra Newbold's body was found June 26 in a canal near her home.
According to a probable cause affidavit, the child's mother last saw her at about 10:30 p.m. the night before. On the morning of June 26, the woman told police she noticed a sliding glass door in the family's home was open and the girl wasn't in her bed.
Officers reviewed a recording made by a home security camera and found that someone had entered the house at 3:05 a.m. The recording also showed someone leaving the house at 3:13 apparently carrying something, Fox13 reported.
Authorities mounted a search and soon found the girl's pink pajamas and undergarments in a field a short distance away from the home, according to court documents.
Her body was then found floating face down in a nearby canal. An autopsy revealed the girl was sexually assaulted and strangled but the official cause of death was drowning.
Black was arrested on June 29 on suspicion of car theft and bank robbery.
Authorities said alert police officers then noticed Black lived in an apartment near the canal where the young girl's body was found, and that debris on his clothing appeared similar to debris found in the field where the child's clothing was discovered.
Gil said Newbold's DNA was then found on Black's body. He remained held Tuesday on $2 million bond. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.
Police say Black was a transient who lived in and out of the Newbolds' neighborhood. He had an extensive criminal history, but only one lewdness charge within the law few years, Fox13 reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.