AMERICAN FORK — A man approached a 4-year-old girl at random at an apartment complex and sexually abused her, at one point biting her genitals, a criminal case filed Monday alleges.
Royce Brandon Schaefer, 31, of American Fork, is charged in 4th District Court with sodomy of a child and aggravated sexual abuse of a child, both first-degree felonies.
Schaefer was not in police custody as of Wednesday.
In an interview with KSL, American Fork Police Lt. Sam Liddiard urged anyone who knows Schaefer and is aware of his current whereabouts to contact police at 801-794-3970.
Schaefer allegedly approached the girl on June 4 at an apartment complex at 445 E. 500 South. The girl told police she was eating macaroni and cheese next to her friend's home when a man approached her.
The man kissed her face as well, she said, before biting her "really hard" on her genitals. She had never seen the man before.
The girl's older sister told police that the 4-year-old started crying after the incident and immediately told her mother. The victim also indicated to police that the man who abused her had "suggest(ed) he also intended to transport (her) to another location," court documents state.
On June 9, police contacted Schaefer and informed him they had a search warrant to obtain his DNA. He was taken to the American Fork Police Department, where his DNA was obtained and he was informed he was a suspect in an investigation.
An officer there asked him why he had been seen in the area on the day in question and he responded that he "was looking around for apartments," according to court documents.
"When (an officer) asked Royce Schaefer if the 'little girl' misunderstood what took place, Schaefer said, 'I guess,'" charges state. "When (the officer) asked Royce Schaefer when he remembered first seeing the victim, Schaefer said, 'I was just driving by when I saw her. It doesn't make any sense.'"
A sexual assault kit performed tested positive for male DNA on the victim's underwear, but the quantity of the findings was "insufficient to produce a full DNA profile," according to court documents.
Two witnesses also described seeing a man matching Schaefer's appearance run through the apartment complex and jump a fence at around the same time the young victim reported the incident happened. They also allegedly described his vehicle.
Schaefer's car was spotted a few blocks away on June 8 by a person familiar with the incident, according to a report from American Fork police. Officers arrived at the scene and spoke with him at the time and verified that he matched the victim's description, court documents say.
Court documents reference an Orem police case from April when a female reported Schaefer may have been taking inappropriate photos up her skirt. However, there was no evidence to verify the claim, court documents state.
A search warrant was also obtained in 2013 on the suspicion that child pornography was being shared by an internet user using an IP address at Schaefer's residence in Provo, but the warrant was never served. Court documents say the reason for the warrant not being served is "undisclosed."
A woman also reported to Provo police in 2012 that Schaefer had sexually assaulted her, but investigators eventually dropped the case after she stopped cooperating, according to court documents.
A search of past records indicates Schaefer has no prior criminal history in Utah, though the court documents filed in his case Monday allege he was placed on probation in 2006 for the offenses of aggravated assault, criminal mischief and interruption of a communications device.