EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. – Court documents recently released are shedding light on what may have happened to Gannon Stauch and why investigators charged his stepmother, Letecia Stauch, with murder.
Letecia Stauch’s arrest affidavit was unsealed Friday morning. The document is 32 pages.
Stauch was the last person to have seen 11-year-old Gannon Stauch alive, and reported him as a runaway on January 27. A few days later, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office amended the case to that of a missing and endangered child.
For weeks, search crews worked tirelessly to find Gannon. His remains were eventually found in Florida.
Letecia Stauch has been charged with:
- Murder in the First Degree (Child Under Twelve – Position of Trust)
- First-degree murder
- Child Abuse Resulting in Death
- Tampering with a Deceased Human Body
- Tampering with Physical Evidence
- Crime of violence (8 counts)
The arrest papers describe Stauch as someone who lied to investigators multiple times, who wasn’t happily married, who had resentment in her role as a stepparent, who created false alibis, and who didn’t participate in searches to find Gannon.
According to the document, Stauch gave law enforcement several stories as to what happened to her 11-year-old stepson, including sexual assault, kidnapping, a bike accident, and her initial report of simply failing to return home after visiting a friend.
Prosecutors believe evidence points to Stauch as being the only person involved in the death of Gannon.
Investigators wrote in the affidavit, they think she killed him on the afternoon of January 27 in his bedroom, moved his body to the trunk of her car, and dumped his remains near Highway 105 and South Perry Park Road in Larkspur. They accuse her of later returning for the body in a rental car and moving him to still another location, where he was eventually found.
Investigators say they found a piece of particleboard with Gannon’s blood in that area of Larkspur, which teams had searched for days.
According to the court document, prosecutors have physical evidence that supports a violent event occurred, including blood splatter on the wall, a blood-stained mattress, and stained carpet where blood had seeped through the fibers, through the carpet pad, and marked the concrete underneath.
Detectives say Gannon’s father, Al Stauch, cooperated fully with the investigation. He was not home when Gannon disappeared, since he was deployed with the National Guard.
Letecia Stauch’s 17-year-old daughter refused to speak with investigators. However, police wrote they don’t believe she was present when Gannon was murdered, or helped with dumping his body.
Police say they do not believe Letecia Stauch went to a neighbor’s home to find Gannon after his reported disappearance. They said she couldn’t provide any addresses of homes she went to, the name of the friend Gannon had supposedly played with, or that names of that friends’ parents.
According to court documents, she also disconnected her phone, made false reports of rape, lied to authorities about a rental car, and had odd travel patterns.
Within two days of first reporting Gannon missing, Letecia told investigators she had been held at gunpoint and raped by a Hispanic man, according to the court document.
In the interview with detectives, she said the man, “Eguardo”, had abducted Gannon after he raped her. Detectives said they debunked that story quickly, after she failed to report the home invasion, rape, and kidnapping of a child to authorities. Stauch said she’d met “Eguardo” in the neighborhood working on a house, asked him to fix burnt carpet, and gave him their garage code.
Police found no evidence of “Eguardo” entering the home. Letecia also didn’t allow a sexual assault nurse examiner to conduct a forensic exam. When given the opportunity to give evidence to identify “Eguardo,” she refused, according to the court document.
At the end of the interview with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Stauch stuffed tissues in her pants and said she had chest pain and shortness of breath. She was taken to the hospital for treatment but, once there, “miraculously recovered” and did not consent to a SANE exam, according to investigators. She also left the hospital without telling anyone.
Police say her alleged attacker’s identity changed throughout the investigation, along with the location of the abduction and details of the rape.
In addition to cell records, a home security log, cleaning supply purchase receipts, car history and DNA found inside the home, investigators revealed Stauch’s search log before and after Gannon’s disappearance.
Police also recorded phone conversations Letecia had with Al Stauch.
In those conversations, police believe she made up more versions about what may have happened to Gannon. Letecia gave Al information that only investigators and the person who murdered Gannon would have known, such as blood splatter on the wall, and she tried to give Al reasonable explanations of it. For example, she said Gannon burned himself on a candle so badly it blistered and peeled, then wiped the blood from the blister on the wall.
According to court documents, one story she told Al was that her alleged abductor was on the El Paso County Most Wanted List.
Police said there was no evidence this person had any involvement in the disappearance of Gannon.
Letecia made claims to investigators that she was set up. The court documents also state Letecia ordered a polygraph from fakepolygraph.com and called numerous times to get her results.
Investigators said lab results corroborated the theory that Gannon was murdered in his bedroom, brought to the garage, and loaded into Letecia’s car and then disposed.
Investigators also said based on FBI data, in more than 71% of homicide cases that involve false reporting, the reporting party is responsible for the murder.
FOX21 News will continue to follow this trial as it moves through the court system.