BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — Investigators found little Ethan Stacy’s body on May 11, 2010, wrapped in eight garbage bags and layered among items such as a broken hammer, a shovel head and a bottle of lighter fluid, the lead investigator with the Layton Police Department said at Nathanael Sloop’s preliminary hearing in 2nd District Court.
The three-day hearing began Wednesday morning with Prosecutor David Cole questioning Layton Police Sgt. Jeff Roderick on the investigation into the 4-year-old’ boys death. For the first time, Nathan appeared in court in a suit and tie, his hair trimmed and combed back.
Ethan Stacy came to Utah on April 29, 2010 to spend the summer with his mother, Stephanie Sloop. Photos of the boy show a smiling and seemingly healthy child, hugging his mother and Nathan Sloop. Later photos showed him with a swollen check and lips.
The preliminary hearing is expected to last through Friday. It will determine if Sloop should be bound over for trial in the death of his stepson. Sloop is charged with aggravated murder, second-degree felony obstruction of justice, and third-degree felony abuse or desecration of a body.
Sloop’s defense attorney Rich Mauro conceded at the beginning of the hearing that his client should be bound over on counts of obstruction of justice, desecrating a body and damaging the jail, but as for intentionally killing the child, that did not happen, Mauro said.
A video of investigators at the burial site showed them removing the garbage bag-wrapped body, along with the items layered in the grave. Nathanael Sloop led investigators there on May 12, 2010.
Those in attendance heard the 911 call Stephanie Sloop made on May 10, telling police Ethan was missing. She said Ethan had left the apartment the previous night and that Nathanael had found him in the courtyard of the apartment complex. She told the dispatcher Nathanael had just come back into the house after searching for him.
Roderick said about 50 people had searched for the boy that night.