History of abuse emerges in Ethan Stacy case

Former spouses call Sloops unstable, feared for children

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  • suess
    May 18, 2010 6:23 p.m.

    I'm so sorry for the loss of this little boy. I've read many statements blaming courts and judges. Judges can only rule on what they see, and the fact that Joe entered into mediation and an agreement with his ex that he'd give her 1/2 of his settlement if the boy spent the summer with her, tells me that though he was hesitant to send Ethan to visit for the summer, the agreement was made and the court ruled on that -- not saying that was right. Hindsight is frightful at times, and I'm sure Joe is doing alot of second guessing right now, but who'd think a mother could do this to her child. I agree with others -- there was something she could've done even if she was afraid. If someone came after one of my children they would have to kill me first. Joe will have to live with this the rest of his life, as will Nathan and Stephanie (hopefully a short time for them). Their true punishment will come when they get to the other side and have to answer Ethan's question "why?" That will be the ultimate punishment.

  • MamaFirst
    May 18, 2010 2:27 a.m.

    TO Reasonable:

    The saddest part of all is NOT that someone close to Nathan Sloop is Christian. The saddest part of all is that a young, innocent life has been taken, cruelly and unneedfully! Get your priorities straight.

    Christianity had nothing to with this... so stop trying to turn the conversation to Christian-bashing.

    Christ said, "Wo unto them; because they have offended my little ones... It had been better for them that a millstone had been hanged about their necks, and they had drowned in the depth of the sea."

    I don't see anywhere that Nathan Sloop claims to be religious OR spiritual. If everyone in his family were college professors, that wouldn't make him smarter unless HE got an education. Same thing with religion. It doesn't matter if everyone else in his family is Christian... unless he, himself, chooses to follow Christ, he has no promise or claim.

  • Hoffy
    May 17, 2010 4:01 p.m.

    Our condolences to you Joe... no one should have to suffer something like this...

    I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the unborn twins Stephanie claims to have lost was do to abuse....

  • Nebsy
    May 14, 2010 4:29 p.m.

    To the father Joe: May you find peace. You tried to protect your child. I am sorry that the court system failed you and your son.

    I wonder how many parents agree to joint custody because they are afraid of a court system that won't help or a long court battle.

    Shame on the judge that excused this outcome because of the number of cases she sees. Replace these type of judges with people who have the will to stand up against evil, who aren't afraid to tell a dead beat mom/dad that they are done with their children.

  • Leesha
    May 14, 2010 4:06 p.m.

    Is there anything we as citizens can do to help this not to happen? I mean for them to not get off the hook on insanity or multiple personalities? An earlier post predicted by the trial date we would see them as new people, on medication and aware of their sins...and get a more lenient sentence. It's unthinkable. Can normal citizen do anything to help?

  • six string samurai
    May 14, 2010 2:11 p.m.

    As a father to three young sons, I cannot fathom the grief Ethan's father must be feeling at losing his Ethan. I cry for the loss of his sweet innocent child. Ethan we weep for you and your family.

    I plead for justice to be swift and exacting. I hope that the guilty parties will not be allowed to hide behind the guise of "insanity" or "multiple personalities" to lessen their judgement. Ethan was shown no mercy and neither should they.

  • pinkgurl
    May 14, 2010 2:08 p.m.

    A memorial fund has been set up for Ethan's family at the following location:

    TruPoint Bank
    PO Box 1010
    Grundy, VA 24614

    Pay to the order of: Memorial Fund for Ethan Stacy

    At this time, the bank is only set up to receive payment by check.

  • tomp
    May 14, 2010 1:44 p.m.

    I'm a father of three with one son who reminds me of the picture of Ethan: they are both intelligent, innocent boys.

    This story makes me alternately sickened, angry and sad beyond words. Most of my anger is directed toward those two monsters. I'm sorry if I’m insensitive, but some measure of responsibility and accountability with foresight must to go to the biological father.

    I have to ask of him, why in the world would you choose to marry an abusive mother -- twice? Someone above said "If any good can come of this, let it be more caution on the part of judges". A judge can't force someone to choose a good person to marry. Someone getting married holds the future of his children in his own hands. So the good that should come of this is as a wake-up call to anyone planning to get married and start a family, who cares anything about the future safety of their own children. Marriage requires a level of maturity and spiritual discernment. Religion is becoming less popular by the decade, and we are seeing the consequences in the choices people make, including choosing a spouse.

  • MisTexas
    May 14, 2010 1:07 p.m.

    I hope that I never have to play that "what if" game with my child's life. We as parents need to stand up and protect our children from those we know are dangerous and mentally unstable. I want to know that I have done all I can to protect that child.

  • Spoxjox
    May 14, 2010 12:55 p.m.

    At the trial in a year, we will see a new Nathan Sloop, one faithfully taking his antipsychotic meds and oh-so-broken-up about the "tragedy" of this beautiful little boy's "untimely death".

    We will see a new Stephanie Sloop, her head "finally on straight" now that she's taking antidepressants, deeply mourning "poor Nathan's" demise.

    We will see their lawyers lecturing the jurors that the law isn't about revenge; that punishing these unfortunate people won't bring Nathan back; that they have to live with the knowledge of what they did, and surely that is punishment enough for anyone; that aggravated murder Just Isn't Fair for such beleaguered souls. Show them mercy, the lawyers will say. Show how civilized people act.

    In that last sentence that the lawyers will say, I actually agree. Let's show how civilized people act. A society that won't execute its murderers is a society that won't flush its toilets.

    Civilized people flush the toilet.

  • ushkiiwife
    May 14, 2010 12:12 p.m.

    I love CaseyA's comment: "Nathan Sloop is not a bad person because he was abused, he is a bad person because he chose to abuse others." How true that is. I don't think that becasue of what happened in his past we can feel sorry for him and we don't even know what happened in his past. He is an adult and should have asked for help and gotten help for that child, instead of killing him and then further abusing his body after he was dead. I cry just thinking about this.

  • CaseyA
    May 14, 2010 11:46 a.m.

    Great comment rubytulip. To paraphrase a movie, some men have a blackness inside of them that no amount of inflicting pain or death can fill. That blackness started somewhere. It also doesn't make me sorry for the grown man. We are not defined by what is done to us. We are defined by what we do. Nathan Sloop is not a bad person because he was abused, he is a bad person because he chose to abuse others.

  • rubytulip
    May 14, 2010 11:31 a.m.

    Like everyone else, I am sickened and saddened by the unnecessary death of a beautiful and innocent 4-year-old boy.

    I would bet HEAVILY that years ago another little boy named Nathan Sloop was badly abused and a monster was created. My heart aches for that little boy too, NOT the murderer he became. Something went terribly wrong in Stephanie's moral development too....
    This does not excuse them from prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

  • fred
    May 14, 2010 11:06 a.m.

    While everyone's emotions are raw after reading this terribly sad story, I would like to council everyone to not let their emotions rule their heads. I am speaking of the wanting to donate to some kind of fund for his father or in the child's memory. I think this is in direct relation to our basic human need to make things better somehow - make us feel better as well. I have no problem at all with that except while in this frame of mind, it is easy to get scammed by scummy people who are quick to cash in using phony donation schemes. Please make sure you have all the facts about the organization/fund you are donating to - if that is what you choose to do - and the family wants/needs donations. Don't make this story even more horrible by discovering scam artists have taken everyone for a ride as well.

  • Reasonable Person
    May 14, 2010 10:47 a.m.

    We can't blame the judge for what happened.

    Joe Stacy and Stephanie entered into a low-cost mediated divorce, and signed off on the settlements.

    In those cases, all the judge does is put the legal stamp on everything and declare the divorce final.
    Stephanie didn't even bother to show up; Joe would have been free to seap up.

  • CaseyA
    May 14, 2010 10:46 a.m.

    The questions concerning how to prevent this sort of thing from happening again are very difficult to answer. There is a lot of difficulty in balancing the protection of children from their parents as well as the protection of children from the state. Both can abuse these little innocents. Frankly, I can't, even in hingsight, see how this boy could have been protected by the system. That said, I would like to publicly request that each and every one of you whose heart is hurt by this event to call the prosecutor's office and make it clear what the people of Utah are demanding. Make sure the prosecutor is aware that if either of these people get less than a life sentence, the prosecutor had better find a new job. At the end of the day, the judge who set the custody terms, the neighbors, the DCFS workers, none of these people were in that bedroom with Ethan. None of them were punching him as he cried to try and understand. None of them took out their cameras and took pictures of the injries to their own child. None of them killed him. Remeber who is responsible. Justice

  • Reasonable Person
    May 14, 2010 10:22 a.m.

    The saddest part of all, is that Nathan Sloop comes from a self-proclaimed "Christian" family.

    One of his ultra-close relatives maintains a website with ideas on how to "witness for Christ" -- which includes this tip:

    "Witness Idea: An appliance breaks in the house...we could cry...or we might be able to see it as a Devine Appointment to share JESUS with the repair man or woman or to invite them to Church!"

    I'm really sorry, family, but you should take care of your own family first before determining that we are the ones who need your "help".

  • Leesha
    May 14, 2010 9:42 a.m.

    What we need is for people to be more responsible for who they make babies with. Joe Stacey picked badly twice, Nathan Sloop with multiple personalities including violent "ghost" has been married twice. Judges and courts can't be responsible to make these situations all better.

  • Sally Smiles-a-Lot
    May 14, 2010 9:39 a.m.

    How many children have to be tortured and killed before judges and Family Services will listen to the parent or child who expresses great concern about being required to go with the other parent? This happens over and over again. I realize that sometimes the fear is unfounded, or the reluctance is used as a tool to get at the other parent. But this happens way too often.

    If the laws are to blame for a judge requiring the child to honor the visitation arrangements, then the laws need to be modified to take into account individual circumstances, to allow the judge some leeway to render a proper judgement and deny the visitation rights, even though they have been granted. Ethan, and his father, had every reason to fear Ethan's visit with his mother, but apparently no one was listening, or able to make that adjustment. That is just wrong. And now an innocent life has paid the price.

    To Ethan's dad, I am so sorry for your loss, and for the suffering of this precious little boy. I hope you can find some comfort in knowing he is safe, even though you'll miss him. God bless.

  • catcrazed
    May 14, 2010 9:01 a.m.

    This event sickens me deeply. I keep reliving it in my mind. I don't know how anyone associated with this will ever sleep well again. I can't get my mind around a mother who lets so much abuse happen to her child...or the rage someone feels when he attacks an innocent child. I hope they go to prison for a long, long time...Poor little boy. I hope he knows how much he is loved...even by complete strangers.

  • DC Fan
    May 14, 2010 8:21 a.m.

    When I see photos of this precious little 4 year old I see my owe grandkids and a bit me dies inside. There isn't anything more loving and precious than a 4 yr old child and to hear of what he went through is almost unbearable. Monster is the word the comes to mind and I'm angered by what I read about the court system we in trust the welfare of the children in. The father knew of a pending problem and was forced to still turn over this child to the mother he knew was dangerous. Don’t we have anyone in the judicial system with any common sense? Imagine if this were your child and you were asked to give him up and knew something bad could happen, would ya do it, or take him and run? Rest in peace Ethan, we failed you.

  • Ethel
    May 14, 2010 8:18 a.m.

    I am sickened by this entire scenario. Where was a social worker or guardian ad litem in this fiasco? I know that as a S.W. most would listen and have a mental status exam on these "ex-spouses." Someone or the "system" has let down this little boy. It is too late now. Sad but true.

    Fear is a form of control, to either party. The ex's used it against the other and the fear controlled Ethan's father.

    The little guy must have felt a foreboding and tried to tell everyone he was afraid. It hurts to think about the fear HE must have had being the brunt of the mother's evil.

    No one wins here. Sad but true. May this little one rest and know the truth now.

    Condolences to his father and step-mother who really loved him and did the best they could that was within their power to do. The mother should have been evaluated and being as unfit long before, who was psychotic to do what she did.

  • Mike in Sandy
    May 14, 2010 8:12 a.m.

    Courts have to start paying attention to these red flags.
    Courts go by law, numbers, forms.
    People go by knowledge and emotion.
    The accused step-dad apparently has noting but trouble on his resume. The mom is no peach, either, thus the divorce and dad's primary custody.

    The very fact that his father petitioned the court to deny his ex to get him for the summer should have been a huge warning.
    What a sad story.
    God rest his innocent little soul.

  • Dorothy
    May 14, 2010 7:34 a.m.

    I read about something like this and wonder how many more monsters are out there abusing their children. How many more are going to die at the hands of their "parents"? How many kids live miserable lives because of unstable, evil parents? Makes me sick.

    Please let us know where to donate to help the biological father.

  • rlsintx
    May 14, 2010 7:20 a.m.

    wow. So sad - for the child, and also the lives of all these exes mentioned - what an unhappy, ongoing existence for all of them. Makes one wonder what principles and morals any of them live by. It is disappointing that the courts ruled against the father's concerns, which fully proved correct. My own son came to live with me (his dad) after his mother, originally granted custody, went off the deep end... it's amazing the fight many men have to make in the courts to prove the woman "has issues"...

  • Munk
    May 14, 2010 6:57 a.m.

    I can not even fathom how someone could do this. This sickens me to the very core. I have seen some things in my military service and my travels that would make anyone blanch, but this... this makes me cry. I am not overly religious but for this little boy, he is surely in heaven and.. enough. God Bless Ethan.

  • Commontater
    May 14, 2010 6:47 a.m.

    I am sickened by this news. My condolences to Mr. Stacey.

    This couple has already had their trial because they have admitted abusing and killing this child. The attorneys don't need any taxpayer money to defend this case. Only two things remain, the sentencing which should be capital punishment, and the death of both. May I add currently there is not an appropriate humane death available for these two.

    Capital punishment would take on a different light if those found guilty were taken to the town square, and on national TV, shown a documentary of their lives outlining everything about them from childhood. The world could then understand what kind of people they have become because of the choices they have made.

    This documentary should show how these two abused this little boy, tortured and killed him.

    Their sentence to death should include the same abuse torture and death, by the same means.

    Our prisons would be less full because there would be fewer people committing crimes. People would be able to see first-hand what would happen to them if they made similar stupid choices or used their agency to inflict pain/suffering on others. Humane, absolutely.

  • StevenKL625
    May 14, 2010 2:11 a.m.

    We need PUBLIC Funding of Child Custody and Visitation Litigation in this Country! No child should ever die again because of the expense involved in custody matters. I read that the boys mother agreed to let his DADDY have primary custody after he agreed to give her ($$$$$) part of a work related injury settlement. Mr. Stacy should not have had to fear a legal system, a system that has traditionally been tilted against Father's being awarded custody, let's stop this now! What happens to cars, the boat, the bank accounts, etc., should never play a part in the safety and well-being of a child, Public Funding would stop this, every child in a custody case would be appointed an attorney and any custody evaluations would be free of charge, it would give every person equal protection under the law, every father, every mother and most importantly every CHILD!

  • kaward
    May 14, 2010 12:58 a.m.

    okay, so I tried to post the link to a site with the information for a fund, but it won't let me. If you go on facebook, you can search for "Justice for Ethan Stacy," and click on events. They are doing a teddy bear drive and taking money for the family. It's on the 29th of May, from 11am-3pm, but they have posted where yet. Hope that helps!!

  • Buster
    May 14, 2010 12:50 a.m.

    "Because the case was still active, meaning the court has jurisdiction over the divorce to make sure all stipulations were being met, the judge said she could not talk about specific details regarding the case."

    Ummmm, isn't murdering the child breaking one of the stipulations, and if the child is now dead, wouldn't that make the case moot.

    With the type of evidence out there, I would assume it would be time for the judge to explain why she forced this child to Utah. Then hang up her robes, and go teach law at some small university.

  • thelogicalone
    May 14, 2010 12:28 a.m.

    Mr. Sloopy has a daughter and could do this to someone else's child? I hope his child is spared the same treatment.

  • jbo26
    May 13, 2010 8:28 p.m.

    Mr. Stacy there are thousands of Utahans (Myself included) that pray that you find peace and know that you son is safe and is surrounded by people that love him. My family's prayers are with you at this time. If there is any way for us to help in anyway please let us know. You have more support here in Utah than you may know. If anyone knows if there is a trust set up please post it for all! God Bless you til you are reunited with you beautiful son.

  • fourstring10
    May 13, 2010 7:04 p.m.

    My heart breaks for you Mr. Stacey. I always read comments but have never posted one. My anger is paramount! I wish Mr. Stacy could a have a few moments with those peices of trash!! NOTHING in this world is as precious as a child! I hope with all that I am that justice is served here and beyond!!!! Be cautious people, they move among us.....

  • Mom of 8
    May 13, 2010 7:02 p.m.

    If anyone deserved the death penalty, it would be these two. I've never heard of such a selfish, sickening case. I'm praying for the ex-husband, and so grateful nothing happened to the ex-wife's daughter.

  • citizen911
    May 13, 2010 7:02 p.m.

    SHe was afraid for her life? Her son was being tortured, why couldnt she just grab him and run? She recorded the abuse. What kind of sick person(sic) is this?

  • citizen911
    May 13, 2010 6:59 p.m.

    I dont understand, I used to live in an apartment, you can practically hear everything that goes on. How come no one heard anything? Reported anything in the apartment complex?
    This is heartbreaking and unacceptable.
    Both the so called man and the woman should be punished the same way, burned, hit, and left to die in their own feces and vomit.
    Please god make these violent images go away.

  • potpourri
    May 13, 2010 5:32 p.m.

    Sounds like another stupid decision made by a divorce court. Still I would like to be fair and to know more details if the judge concerned will comment.

  • On the other hand
    May 13, 2010 5:28 p.m.

    I also want to offer my condolences to Mr. Stacy. If any good can come of this, let it be more caution on the part of judges who make custody decisions on behalf of America's most vulnerable citizens. If laws need to be changed to make that happen, let's make the changes, and quickly.

  • washcomom
    May 13, 2010 4:48 p.m.

    My heart goes out to Mr. Stacy and his family. Nothing can bring little Ethan back right now, but at least Ethan knows that he has a very loving father who really wanted to do the right thing, and tried to do so. What an absolute heart breaker.

  • Long Hair Pete
    May 13, 2010 4:34 p.m.

    I was wondering the same thing about the dad's financial situation. I am one of hundreds, if not thousands, who will contribute.

    I still cannot read about this without crying. I am a stay-at-home dad with a son in kindergarten. He wears glasses and he looks so much like Ethan Stacy. It hurts to think what the small child went through at the hands of these monstrous people.

    How and why can anyone do this to a child?

    I love you Ethan. You are in a much better place. I pray for your father that you may find peace and comfort during these extremely painful time.

  • Kimber
    May 13, 2010 4:09 p.m.

    I'm heartbroken with your loss. But I know that Ethan is at peace. Bless You Always!

  • Th
    May 13, 2010 4:01 p.m.

    I personally hope the judge who forced the father to send his son to his mom is held accountable for part of this.

    Such a sad and tragic thing to have happened. I have 4 sons one of which is a 4 year old. This has really hit home to me. As a father, I know we are supposed to be forgiving, but I hope for the worst for mom and step dad. It would be a shame to have them spend life in prison costing me tax dollars. A .223 round is only 40 cents each. I would gladly donate!

  • 42istheanswer
    May 13, 2010 3:58 p.m.

    I heard of a charity (that I now can't think of the name of) on X96 the other day that does exactly that grj. Hopefully someone with a better memory will post it.

    Mr. Stacey, the system failed you. I feel for your loss. You have my deepest sympathy.

  • Mendel
    May 13, 2010 3:47 p.m.

    To grj:
    Your post is very useful. I do not live in Utah, but would be happy to contribute. You could contact a local bank and they would know how to set up a fund and could help. Also, the newspaper (DN) could advertise and such a fund.

  • Cinnamon
    May 13, 2010 3:41 p.m.

    Thats a Heart breaking Story.
    "A story of Unwanted love and
    as killing Laughter of Abuse to a Child"

  • LuVePacifica
    May 13, 2010 3:30 p.m.

    So sorry for your loss
    keep strong take care
    rip`Ethan~His Spirit rest n
    blue sky Heavens above~

    Utah resident@

  • grj
    May 13, 2010 3:27 p.m.

    I'd like to know if the father is financially able to handle the cost of coming to Utah, taking his son's body home, and all the rest of the expenses of this horrible situation that he is now faced with. I'm certain hundreds of thousands of Utahn's are anxious to help him. Does anyone know if a fund is set up, or how to organize suich a thing for him?