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GRUNDY, Va. -- Ethan Stacy was found dead in Layton last week where he had come to stay with his mother for the summer. His father laid him to rest Wednesday afternoon in Virginia.
Ethan's family gathered at a cemetery in Grundy, Va., to say their final goodbyes near the sweet 4-year-old everyone seemed to love.
The service was very emotional. Friends and family of Ethan Stacy, and even people that didn't know him, filled the pews of the chapel. There was probably a crowd of about 250 people.
Soft crying and sniffling could be heard throughout the service, especially during the emotional slide show picturing Ethan in much happier times.
Ethan certainly was precious, not only to his father, Joe, but to people in Utah, Virginia and across the country.
Preacher Mike Rife said, "The death of this little 4-year-old child is making its way all the way across the country, and who would've ever thought it?"
Just remember [Ethan] was a loving boy. He was a very intelligent boy. He was just a son that, above all, he was just great.
–Joe Stacy, Ethan's father
Curtis Mullins, vice-president of Grundy Funeral Home, said, "Calls from all over the United States. One lady from Alabama wanted to make sure her little stuffed animal got here."
But Ethan certainly meant the most to his dad, who last saw Ethan before he traveled to Utah to visit his mom, never to see him alive again.
"It just hasn't hit me yet. I don't know exactly when it's going to. I still want to believe that he's coming home, and I know he's not," Joe Stacy said.
Perhaps, Wednesday it sank in. Ethan's body rested in a small casket surrounded by teddy bears, cards and flowers from all over the country at the front of the Grundy Funeral Home. Inside, he had his favorite Transformer toy, presumably to play with in a better place.
"I'm very, very thankful, for everyone," Joe Stacy said. "We just never realized how good people are out there until something bad happens, and there's a lot of people."
Family and friends describe him as always happy, playful and curious.
Joe Stacy's future mother-in-law, Lucy Hicks, said, "I can just see him all over heaven dragging the Lord Jesus around wanting to know what's this and this, because that's what he'd do to me."
"Remembering all the good times, which was every moment; there was no bad times at all, only good times," Joe Stacy said.
He said he is overwhelmed by the support he and his family has seen from strangers around the country. He said he wanted Wednesday to be a day of remembrance for Ethan and a day for everyone to think about the good times they had with him.
Ethan's mother Stephanie Sloop is now in the Davis County jail accused of his murder. Her parents, John and Katrina Busby, came in from Florida to be at both services. Joe Stacy received them well in an embrace.