“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,” Al Stauch said in a statement posted by Restoration Church in Colorado Springs, where he is a member of the congregation.
The remains of a boy were discovered on Tuesday by a Florida Department of Transportation road crew doing work on the Escambia River Bridge in Pace, Florida, a spokesperson at the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office told Oxygen.com.
An autopsy was performed and the remains have been tentatively identified as the 11-year-old Gannon, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department in Colorado has said. Gannon supposedly disappeared near his home in El Paso County on Jan. 27 and his stepmom Letecia Stauch had claimed that he vanished after leaving home to walk to a friend’s house.
She was charged earlier this month with the boy’s murder.
Letecia’s public defenders Kathryn Strobel and Kim Chalmers are not available for comment per office policy.
It’s been an emotional few months. Al Stauch reportedly broke down in February after a neighbor showed him footage he claimed contradicted Letecia’s account of the day Gannon vanished. The neighbor told the Denver Post that footage he uncovered showed the boy and a female relative getting into a truck the morning of his disappearance; when the truck returned about four hours later, there was no sign of Gannon. In a previous statement provided to local outlet KDVR, Letecia maintained that she and Gannon had gone shopping that day and returned home together, even if the video did not appear to show it.
Al Stauch filed for divorce from Letecia shortly after she was arrested for murder earlier this month in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She was then extradited back to El Paso County, Colorado.
“I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to the community here in Colorado and all over the nation to express my deepest gratitude and true heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming support,” Al Stauch said in his statement, adding that he wanted to thank “those who are loving, supportive, and peaceful.”
Al Stauch will likely not give any public interviews or statements until the end of the case, he said.
Furthermore, he said, “if there is any question about whom I trust, take a look at who releases this statement. Anyone else is simply using me, my precious, heartbroken daughter, and my loving family as fodder for their personal agenda, which is absolutely despicable.”
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Department is asking that anyone who may have spotted Letecia in Pace or Pensacola, Florida between Feb. 3 and Feb. 5 to contact them at their tip line, 719-520-6666, or by email at email@example.com.
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DOJ, IRS Investigating Crypto Exchange Binance
Binance Holdings Ltd. is facing a federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
Officials specializing in tax and money-laundering investigations are probing the world’s largest crypto exchange, according to the report.
Binance operates a sprawling global empire of crypto trading, including derivatives, which are essentially barred from the U.S. market. The Binance brand has attempted to project itself as above-board through recent regulatory hires including former U.S. senator Max Baucus. Former banking regulator Brian Brooks was installed as CEO of Binance’s U.S. affiliate last month.
“We take our legal obligations very seriously and engage with regulators and law enforcement in a collaborative fashion,” a Binance spokesperson said in a statement. “We have worked hard to build a robust compliance program that incorporates anti-money laundering principles and tools used by financial institutions to detect and address suspicious activity.”
She declined to comment on the reported investigation.
Binance CEO “CZ” Changpeng Zhao commented on the Bloomberg article in a tweet:
The CDC director just gave us a dark coronavirus warning
The latest coronavirus update for the US through mid-morning on Thursday shows that, according to the latest data collected by the team at Johns Hopkins University, more than 28.7 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the US since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, the coronavirus death toll in the US was approaching 519,000 as of the time of this writing.
Nevertheless, two states created an uproar this week when both states (Texas and Mississippi) announced their decision to pull back restrictions and mandates imposed during the pandemic, like max capacity requirements for businesses and statewide face mask rules. President Biden criticized these moves as the product of “Neanderthal thinking,” while CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky actually went farther than that — warning during a White House press briefing this week that the US could lose all of the progress made thus far as a result of the spread of more transmissible coronavirus variants. Spread that would be helped even more by states like these and others that join them pulling back on their coronavirus-related public safety measures too soon.
“Please hear me clearly,” Dr. Walensky said. “At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. These variants are a very real threat to our people and to our progress. Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know could stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close.”
While there has been a degree of promising news coverage in recent days and weeks, make no mistake: We’re still very much in the middle of a dangerous pandemic. COVID-19 cases, as well as related deaths, are up about 2% compared to last week — and we’re now averaging around 67,000 coronavirus cases per day, along with some 2,000 deaths each day.
Along these lines, and related to the Texas and Mississippi news, former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb had an important insight to share in a CNBC interview this week — namely, that governments and public health experts need to start talking to people about the end of the pandemic and how we get there. Else, we’ll see more people go down this same road, either by feeling like things are hopeless or prematurely easing up on safety measures. “If we continue to be very prescriptive and not give people a realistic vision for a better future, they’re going to start to ignore the public health guidance,” Gottlieb said.
Walensky continued her remarks by noting that an average of less than 70,000 coronavirus cases a day seems good compared to where we were a few months ago. But we “cannot be resigned” to that.
“Please stay strong in your conviction, continue wearing your well-fitted mask and taking the other public health prevention actions that we know work,” she said. “Ultimately, vaccination is what will bring us out of this pandemic. To get there, we need to vaccinate many more people.”
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