The two cases share heartbreaking similarities.
Both children were found murdered, victims of unspeakable child abuse.
Both cases would rally a community angered by how someone could kill an innocent child.
But the cases of 4-year-old Ethan Stacy, found dead in a shallow grave near the Powder Mountain Ski Resort earlier this month, and Shelby Andrews, killed three years ago after suffering a year of abuse at the hands of her family, differ in at least one respect.
Ethan's mother and stepfather, Stephanie and Nathan Sloop of Layton, may face the death penalty for his slaying.
Shelby's father and stepmother, Ryan and Angela Andrews of Syracuse, couldn't face a death sentence because the law wouldn't allow it.
But outrage over Shelby's horrific death spurred Utah lawmakers to toughen the penalties for murdering a child -- opening the door for capital punishment in cases like Ethan's.
Now, with charges against the Sloops pending in 2nd District Court, Shelby's Law may be put to use for the first time.
The law -- sponsored by Republican Rep. Paul Ray of Clearfield and signed by Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. in 2007 -- added the intentional murder of a child under 14 to the list of offenses that can bring a death sentence.
The amendments meant prosecutors would no longer have to prove that a killing was intentional to seek the death penalty if a child died during an act of abuse, sexual assault or kidnapping.
When Shelby was killed, existing law didn't allow prosecutors to file aggravated murder charges because they couldn't prove the girl's death was intentional.
"It's a law that when it passes, you hope you never have to use it," said Ray. "But it's gratifying that it's on the books and that we can make these people pay the ultimate price."
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said it's still too early to determine whether Shelby's Law will be used to prosecute the Sloops, in part because prosecutors are still waiting on a crucial piece of evidence: Ethan's cause of death.
Rawlings said he hopes the state Medical Examiner's Office will be able to make that determination by late next week, allowing prosecutors to make more decisions about how to move forward with Ethan's case.
He said had the current law existed when Shelby died, prosecutors would have pursued the death penalty for the Andrewses. Ethan's case, Rawlings said, is "still actively in progress," but using Shelby's Law hasn't been ruled out.
"Once we know all of the facts, we will take a look at all the potentially relevant provisions. Shelby's Law -- amendments to the aggravated murder statute -- will be at the top of our list," Rawlings said.
Shelby, 10, had bites and bruises on 80 percent of her body when she died on Aug. 1, 2006. The girl was beaten, kicked and forced to eat her own feces over the course of a year in what prosecutors said was an attempt by her parents to discipline her. Other siblings in the home were encouraged to take part in beating the girl. On one occasion, those attacks included striking her in the genitals with an aerosol can as her father held her arms to keep her from fighting back.
The day Shelby died, her stepmother beat her head into a wooden banister and forced her into a linen closet, where she suffocated. The space between the closet's shelves and door was so small she couldn't breathe.
The girl's father and stepmother ignored her pleas for help as they watched television together in the next room. Later, her dead body fell out of the closet when they opened the door to check on her.
Ryan and Angela Andrews are both serving 15 years to life in prison for their roles in the slaying. They aren't scheduled to go before the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole until 2041.
Others involved in the aftermath of Shelby's murder have mixed emotions to know the legislation created after her death may be put to use.
Syracuse police Lt. Tracy Jensen, who screened charges against Shelby's parents after her killing, remembers his frustration after discovering the couple weren't eligible for capital punishment. Syracuse police officers testified before the Legislature in favor of changing the law.
"This was a heinous crime. In law enforcement you can't fabricate someone hurting their own child, or allowing someone else to hurt their own child," Jensen said of Shelby's slaying. "A lot of officers were frustrated and mad at the system. This child didn't just die. She died as a result of something someone did to her. Her case will never be forgotten."
For Shelby's family, memories of the girl's painful abuse and death persist.
The girl's 2006 obituary described her as a "bright, warm, amazing, beautiful, radiant young lady" who loved music, dancing, basketball and "everything about being a girl."
"We will miss our Tinker Bell," her family wrote.
A year after her death, Shelby's family found some closure when donations paid for a new headstone at her West Jordan grave site. The family had previously been unable to afford the tribute, marking her grave instead with a tiny brass plaque.
After community members donated $2,000, Shelby's family gathered to celebrate her 12th birthday and decorated the grave with balloons and stuffed animals.
Her mother, Kimberly Hale, said at the time she didn't want her daughter to be forgotten.
"It's really important to us that people know she's there," Hale said.
Ethan Stacy's mother, Stephanie Sloop, finalized her divorce of Joe Stacy in Florida on April 28 and brought the 4-year-old to Utah for the summer.
A week after Ethan arrived in Layton on May 5, Nathan Sloop, 31, began abusing the child, according to police.
Nathan and Stephanie Sloop, 27, married the next day in Farmington, leaving the bruised boy injured in a locked bedroom. Investigators say he died four days later on Mother's Day.
The Sloops reported him missing May 10, but after a 12-hour search, police say the couple confessed that Ethan was buried off a trail near Powder Mountain Ski Resort.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings is awaiting a medical examiner's report before filing charges against the couple, who are in Davis County jail on suspicion of child abuse and aggravated murder.
In Utah, aggravated murder charges can carry three penalties: death, life in prison without parole, or 25 years to life in prison with the option of parole.
The Sloops are scheduled to appear before 2nd District Judge David Connors onFriday.