The stepmother of Gannon Stauch, an 11-year-old Colorado boy who has been missing since Jan. 27, is now accused of killing him.
Letecia Stauch has been arrested in South Carolina and is being held without bond until she can be extradited back to Colorado, KXRM in Colorado Springs reports.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference Monday to announce that she faces first degree murder of a child under 12, child abuse resulting in death, tampering with a deceased body, and tampering with evidence charges.
Landen Hiott, Gannon’s biological mother, burst into tears as charges were read. A collage of the child hung above officials as they broke the sad news that Gannon is most likely dead.
“We sadly do not believe Gannon is alive,” detective Lt. Mitch Mihalko said.
Letecia claimed that Gannon had vanished on Jan. 27 after he left their El Paso County home to walk to a friend’s house. She was the last person to see him.
Roderrick Drayton, who lives a few houses down from the Stauch family, said footage from his home surveillance possibly contradicted Letecia’s account. He told the Denver Post that footage he uncovered showed the boy and a female relative get into a truck the morning of his disappearance. The truck returned about four hours later, but only the woman got out, according to Drayton.
The El Pasco County Sheriff’s Office previously told Oxygen.com that Drayton’s footage is part of the investigation but they would not comment on its contents.
In a statement provided to local outlet KDVR, Letecia maintained that she and Gannon returned home together that day, even if the video doesn’t appear to show it. She also claimed Gannon cut his foot in the home’s garage two days before he vanished due to the amount of tools around.
She previously defended herself in an interview with KKTV.
“I would never, never ever hurt this child and I know there are some questions out there,” she said, insisting that she has been cooperating with authorities.
She claimed she became the victim of internet rumors and death threats as a result of Gannon’s disappearance.
Gannon’s body has still not been found.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has not immediately returned Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
“I’ll make sure justice is served,” Hiott said at Monday’s press conference. “Because my boy did not deserve any of this that happened to him.”
Both she and Gannon’s dad Albert Stauch were visibly distraught.
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jaqueline Kirby read a statement from Albert which stated, “My little boy is not coming home.”
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