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Ethan Stacy Update: Hundreds March in Utah to Honor Slain 4-Year-Old

Hundreds participate in ten mile "Walk for Ethan" in Layton, Utah. (AP)

LAYTON, Utah (CBS/AP) Hundreds gathered for a 10-mile walk to honor 4-year-old Ethan Stacy, whose badly beaten body was dug up from a Utah mountainside grave nearly two weeks ago.

PICTURES: Ethan Stacy Dead; Mother, Stepfather Suspected

Ethan's mother and stepfather are being held in the case, and prosecutors have said the couple will likely be charged with aggravated murder in the boy's death.

Authorities allege that the stepfather, Nathaniel Sloop, beat the boy for days, then used a hammer to disfigure his face and teeth before burying his body.

On Saturday, about 400 people marched the 10.3-mile route from the Sloops' Layton apartment complex to the Davis County Justice Center - a gesture organizers said was intended as a symbolic call for justice.

Ethan, who had been in Utah for a summer visit with his mother, was buried Wednesday near his father's home in Richlands, Va.

Ethan Stacy (Personal Photo)

Prosecutors have been waiting for an official cause of death to be determined by the medical examiner, but are expected to file charges on Friday.

PICTURES: Ethan Stacy Dead; Mother, Stepfather Suspected

They have alleged that Nathaniel Sloop beat Ethan until he was unconscious, failed to get the boy medical help and then used a hammer on the child's face before burying him so that it would be more difficult to identify the body.

The boy's mother initially told police her son had wandered from home. Police say she later said she failed to seek help for Ethan because she feared her new husband would hurt her.

For Tara Cooper, Saturday's walk was a reminder of the abuse she herself once lived with.

A boyfriend who showed no hint of violence shook Cooper's daughter so fiercely when she was 15-months-old that the infant suffered severe brain injuries. Now 13, Cooper said her daughter has the mental capacity of a 5-year-old and will never live independently.

"But she is in every way our angel," Cooper said. "So is Ethan, he's just not here anymore. But he won't be forgotten, and we hope this just reminds people that justice must be served on his behalf. We must not forget."

MORE ON CRIMESIDER:
May 17, 2010 - Ethan Stacy's Mother, Stephanie Sloop, May Face Murder Charge with Husband
May 17, 2010 - Ethan Stacy Vigil: 200 Mourn Murdered 4-Year-Old Boy
May 14, 2010 - Ethan Stacy Murder: Divorce Settlement Apparently Put 4-Year-Old in Danger
May 14, 2010 - Ethan Stacy Update: Charges Expected for Mother and Stepfather
May 13, 2010 - Ethan Stacy's Last Days: Details of Burns, and Eating Human Feces, in Police Documents
May 12, 2010 - Ethan Stacy's Mother: "You Can Always Have More Children," She Says of Previous Loss
May 12, 2010 - Ethan Stacy Found Dead; Mother and Stepfather Set to be Charged in 4-Year-Old's Death

  • Edecio Martinez

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