Services Held for Va. Boy Slain by Mother, Stepfather in Utah

May 20, 2010

The father of a slain 4-year-old boy reflected on the good times, and the good in people, at his son's funeral Wednesday in southwest Virginia.

Joe Stacy, his family and friends paid final tribute to Ethan Stacy, whose disfigured body was found on a Utah mountain last week. Utah authorities allege Ethan died of abuse and neglect by his mother, Stephanie Sloop, and stepfather, Nathanael Sloop. They've been jailed on suspicion of aggravated murder but have not been charged.

"I'm remembering all the good times," Joe Stacy said, without mentioning his son's violent death. "There were no bad times at all."

He also commented on the national outpouring of sympathy, the Bristol Herald Courier reported.

"You never realize how many good people are out there until something bad happens," Stacy said.

Stacy, 35, said he reluctantly agreed to send Ethan to visit his mother and stepfather in Utah on May 1. Ethan was found dead 10 days later.

Pastor Mike Rife compared Ethan's death to a stone breaks the surface of still water, sending ripples and touching the lives of people across the country. Some in the crowd of about 100 at the funeral did not know the family.

Mourners viewed a DVD chronicling Ethan's life in photos: In a diaper, relaxing in a swing, posing with his father in front of a Christmas tree, in a bathtub with soap-spiked hair.

Some mourners wore pins with a navy and yellow ribbon. Tammy Childress of Princeton, W.Va., the sister of Joe Stacy's fiancee and creator of the ribbons, said the navy symbolizes child abuse and the yellow is for remembrance, so that whenever someone asks, she will tell Ethan's story.

"I didn't want another child to die the way he did," a tearful Childress told the Bristol newspaper. "I don't want them to forget. They forget about these things. It gets out of the news."

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