The recent death of four-year-old Ethan Stacy at the hands of his abusive step father has been heart wrenching for many Utahns. Recent evidence indicates that he was repeatedly beaten by his step dad, left alone to suffer from his injuries, and left alone to suffer through traumatic brain injury during the final days of his life. 

Where was Ethan’s mother through all of this? She was physically present, yet emotionally detached. A former friend of the mother told KSL news that the mother telephoned her in Florida days before Ethan died and complained that Ethan would not stop crying and would not stop calling for his “mommy”. Apparently his cries were irritating the mother. The woman who should have loved and helped her son turned into an unfeeling bystander. Ethan cried for help as he slowly died.

A similar event took place a few years ago in Galveston, Texas. In October 2007 the body of a young girl was discovered in a plastic container partially buried in a watery bog. Investigators called the child Baby Grace until they found out that it was the body of Riley Ann Sawyers.

During the trial it came out two-year-old Riley was repeatedly beaten with a belt and had her head repeatedly pushed into a pillow and under water for not saying “please” and “yes sir” to her parents. During her final beating she cried out to her mother for help by saying “I love you.” Her plea for her mother to save her went unheeded. Moments later she died after her rampaging stepfather threw her across a room and fractured her skull. 

In both cases the parents tried to cover up the murders. Ethan’s parents bashed in his face and teeth with a blunt object (probably a hammer) and set fire to his body before burying him. Riley’s parents let her body decompose in a plastic container for a month or two before putting her out to sea.

I am not going to go into behavioral science explanations of infanticide or discuss the issue of insanity as a legal defense (which seems to be the defense that Ethan’s step father is cooking up). Also, I am not going to discuss the anger and sorrow that I feel whenever I contemplate these events. Instead I am going to finish this blog post with an expression of light and hope.

Because of the great plan of happiness of our God, Ethan and Riley will be taken into God’s presence where they will be surrounded by His love and compassion for eternity. They will be exalted on high as a prince and princess to the most high God, and become heirs to all that He has. This is God’s blessing to all children who die before the age of accountability. This realization helps replace feelings of anger and sorrow with feelings of hope and peace.

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