SALT LAKE CITY (CBS/AP) Gruesome new details have surfaced about 4-year-old Ethan Stacy's death.
Stacy's stepfather allegedly beat the boy for days before he died, then used a hammer to disfigure his face and destroy his teeth before wrapping him in plastic and burying his body in the mountains, according to police documents released late Wednesday.
Interview summaries filed by Layton police detectives 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.
Police said they obtained pictures and video of the boy's progressively worse condition from the mother's cell phone, starting more than a week ago.
The 31-year-old stepfather, Nathanael Sloop, acknowledged hitting the boy, which caused his face to swell, and leaving him in a locked bedroom on May 6 while the couple went off to get married, according to the probable cause statements.
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 they found Ethan dead in his bed on Sunday morning, and that Nathanael Sloop buried him later that day.
Ethan's body was found in Ogden canyon in Utah on Tuesday evening. His mother and stepfather reported him missing Monday, saying that he wandered out of the family's apartment in Layton; however, police arrested and charged both the mother and the stepfather with his death Tuesday.Prosecutors said they expect to file charges on Friday against the couple. Nathanael Sloop is being held on suspicion of aggravated murder. He and the mother face additional charges of desecration of a corpse, along with felony child abuse and obstruction of justice, police said.
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