Mom Pleads Guilty to Killing 4-Year-Old Son & Throwing His Body Into Grave

A Utah mother has pleaded guilty to killing her 4-year-old son in one of the most atrocious ways we can imagine. Stephanie Sloop took a plea deal offered Monday in order to avoid the death penalty. She and her boyfriend at the time admitted to repeatedly beating and burning little Ethan in 2010 before disfiguring his body by pounding it with a hammer, burying him in a shallow grave, and then throwing dog food on top of the grave.


Ethan had been sent from Virginia to live with his mother and his future stepfather Nathan Sloop, who was reportedly jealous of the little boy -- which is just insane. Instead of defending her child, Stephanie allowed her boyfriend to begin beating him, just one week after he arrived at their home. The ways in which this poor child was hurt are truly sickening: in addition to physical beatings, he was scalded with hot water and drugged with medication.

And it took no time at all for the abuse to lead to murder -- Ethan arrived at their home in late April and was killed in early May.

Every single detail in this story is disturbing, but perhaps the most horrific one is that Stephanie and Nathan tried to cover up the murder by disfiguring Ethan's body and burying it -- and then luring dogs to eat his remains by sprinkling the site with food.

If you suspect drugs were involved -- which is no excuse, of course -- you're right. Stephanie, 31, stood in court and blamed her "addiction to prescription medication" and "failure to get help." The only thing she actually said that makes us feel slightly better about her is that she was "selfish" and that she had an "obligation and responsibility as his mother to take care of him and protect him and I failed horribly."

Stephanie will serve 20 years to life in prison for first-degree felony aggravated murder and second-degree felony obstructing justice. Nathan, who also pleaded guilty to the same charges in February, while mentally ill, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for aggravated murder and 1 to 15 years for aggravated assault.

Do you think this mom got off easy for this murder? Did she deserve the death penalty?


Image via Layton Police Department

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