Mom Arrested After Her 7-Year-Old Son's Body Is Discovered In Colorado Storage Unit

Police believe the child may have been killed as long ago as last May.

January 04, 2019
Elisha Pankey [Denver Police Department]

Elisha Pankey [Denver Police Department]

Elisha Pankey [Denver Police Department]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

DENVER, CO — A Colorado mother is under arrest after her seven-year-old son’s body was found in a self-storage unit two days before Christmas.

Elisha Pankey, 43, surrendered to cops 10 days after the grisly discovery and is being held for investigation of child abuse resulting in the death of Caden McWilliams, who detectives estimate may have died as far back as last May.

The search for McWilliams began after law enforcement in Aurora, a Denver suburb, received a missing-persons report and contacted their counterparts in the capital. The Denver Police Department, acting on a tip, searched the storage unit on December 23 and found the boy deceased.

The medical examiner has performed an autopsy, but a cause or manner of death have not been made public.

“When I saw the news, I balled my fist, and I cried, ‘Oh, my God, how can you do this? How dare you hurt that little boy?’” Tina Wright, Pankey’s former landlord, told CBS4. “He was so beautiful. So, innocent.” Wright also said McWilliams was a “sweet” and “quiet” child and enjoyed playing outside with his toys.

Those who knew him at Denver's Ellis Elementary School echoed Wright's observations. “He stood out from others from the moment he walked through the school doors every morning with a huge smile on his face. His smile and eyes showed how kind and sweet he was at the core,” school officials noted, in part, in a statement. “During recess, Caden would always notice friends who needed someone to play with and he would go to them.”

The former landlord alleged Pankey and her husband battled financial and domestic-violence issues. “She changed from this outgoing person to this hermit who just wanted to stay in her house, and then they got evicted,” Wright said.

On December 22, the day before police found the deceased boy, the Aurora Police Department had arrested Pankey, who does not have an extensive criminal record, for possession of heroin. She was formally charged six days later with drug paraphernalia and felony drug possession and was released after posting $1,000 bond, according to ABC7.

Pankey is currently being held for the death of her son on a $250,000 bond at Denver’s Downtown Detention Center and is due back in court on January 9.

Her other child is in the custody of Arapahoe County protective services.

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