SALT LAKE CITY – A stepfather held in the slaying of a 4-year-old child beat him for days before the boy died, then used a hammer to disfigure his face and teeth before burying the body in the mountains, records released Wednesday said.
The body of Ethan Stacy, wrapped in plastic, was unearthed by police on Tuesday.
interview summaries filed by Layton, Utah, police documented a pattern of increasingly harsh treatment of the boy, who was sent by a Virginia judge to Utah for a summer visit with his mother.
Investigators said they obtained photographs and video images of the boy’s progressively worse condition from the mother’s cellphone, starting more than a week ago.
The stepfather, Nathanael Sloop, 31, acknowledged hitting the boy and leaving him in a locked bedroom on May 6 while the couple went to get married, the probable-cause statements said.
Sloop and the boy’s mother, Stephanie Sloop, 27, feared the boy’s injuries would alert authorities if they took him along to the courthouse wedding, the documents state.
The couple told police that they found Ethan dead in his bed on Sunday morning and that Nathanael buried him that day.
“This pattern of behavior and abuse was done in a manner that was recklessly indifferent to the child’s welfare,” detectives wrote in interview summaries of the Sloops.