UPDATE: Stepmom Of Missing 11-Year-Old Gannon Stauch Arrested For Murder
Authorities have pronounced the Colorado boy dead, but they have yet to locate his body.
The body of missing 11-year-old Colorado boy Gannon Stauch has been located near Pace, Florida.
Officials said a Department of Transportation construction crew found the child’s remains last week by the Escambia River Bridge on a stretch of Interstate 90, ABC News reported.
At a Mar. 20 news conference, Colorado’s El Paso County Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Allen said the child’s family is “distraught” over the news.
"They were still holding out hope that Gannon would come home alive despite the original charges that we filed in this case, and they're struggling, and they rightfully would be," Allen said.
The El Paso County District Attorney's Office has now filed multiple new charges — including first-degree murder after deliberation and eight counts of committing a crime of violence — against the young boy’s stepmother, Letecia Stauch.
She was spotted on a neighbor’s surveillance video getting into a truck on Jan. 27 with her stepson just hours before he vanished.
Albert Stauch released a statement Sunday through his church about the discovery of his son’s body, Colorado Springs’ KRDO-TV reported.
“As you can tell from the initial missing child report, to the arrest and charges in early March, and now the wonderful, yet gut-wrenching news that Gannon's body has been recovered, this has been a heartbreaking and absolutely devastating time period in my life,” Albert Stauch’s statement reads, in part.
His wife, Letecia Stauch, could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole if she is convicted of first-degree murder. She’s scheduled to appear in a Colorado Springs court on Apr. 14.
“Justice will be served,” Kellie Gasper, a neighbor of the Stauch family, told Pueblo’s KOAA-TV, adding, “If it's not here on Earth, it will be up in heaven.”
ORIGINAL POST 3/3/20:
The 11-year-old boy who vanished from his Colorado Springs-area home in January has been pronounced dead and his stepmother arrested on murder charges, law enforcement announced at a news conference Monday afternoon.
El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said Letecia “Tecia” Stauch, 36, was taken into custody earlier in the day in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in connection with her missing stepson Gannon Stauch’s disappearance, CNN reported.
She will be charged with murder in the first degree of a child under 12 years of age by a person in a position of trust, child abuse resulting in death, tampering with a deceased human body, and tampering with physical evidence, according to Elder.
The stepmom is currently being held without bond and is expected to be extradited back to Colorado. She faces life in prison if convicted.
Landen Hiott, who is Gannon’s biological mother, told reporters at the Mar. 2 news conference that her son — nicknamed “G-Man” — “did not deserve any of this that has happened to him,” according to People.
“This stepmom, who I even trusted — she will pay 100 percent for this heinous thing she has done… I want to leave this earth knowing that justice was served for my boy,” said Hiott.
The child’s father, Albert Stauch, noted in a statement read at the news conference that his heart stopped after Letecia Stauch — his wife and Gannon’s stepmom — was arrested. He said he trusted her with his fifth-grader son.
“The person who committed this heinous horrible crime is one that I gave more to than anybody else on this planet, and it is a burden that I will carry with me for a very long time,” he wrote.
Letecia Stauch reported Gannon missing on the evening of Jan. 27. The former special education teacher claimed she last saw the boy when he left home to walk to a friend’s place sometime between 3:15 p.m. and 4 p.m., the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said.
Law enforcement declined to reveal why Letecia Stauch, reportedly the last person to see Gannon alive, became a suspect in his death, but footage from a neighbor’s surveillance camera allegedly contradicted her story, according to the Denver Post.
The boy’s body has not been found, but authorities said they will continue the search.