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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Letecia Stauch, the stepmother of 11-year-old Gannon Stauch was arrested by authorities in South Carolina on Monday.
“While we’ve yet to locate Gannon,” Sheriff Bill Elder said in an afternoon press conference, “Letecia Stauch was taken into custody in Myrtle Beach.”
Stauch is being charged with:
– Murder in the First Degree (Child Under Twelve – Position of Trust)
– Child Abuse Resulting in Death
-Tampering with a Deceased Human Body
– Tampering with Physical Evidence
Stauch reported Gannon as a runaway on January 27, telling the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office he left to visit a friend in the afternoon and never returned.
She will be held without bond in South Carolina until she can be extradited back to Colorado Springs.
Sheriff Bill Elder addressed Gannon’s family, who stood just behind him at the podium.
“There is no way to express the depths of our sympathy and our hearts break for you,” Elder said.
Since Gannon’s disappearance in late January, the sheriff’s office has received hundreds of tips. They’ve searched multiple locations across El Paso County during the monthlong investigation. Most recently, investigators were spotted in the area of Highway 105 and Highway 83 on Saturday.
Sheriff Elder called the investigation into Gannon’s disappearance both “rapidly developing” and “complex.”
There have been thousands of hours of investigations and search efforts since Gannon was reported missing five weeks ago, including large-scale searches as well as focused groups using specialized equipment.
However, instead of searching for the boy, it seems they are now working to recover his remains.
“As you can see from the arrest, sadly, we do not believe Gannon is alive,” said Lieutenant Mitch Mihalko during Monday’s press conference. “Our work is only just beginning,” he said, “and you will continue to see many law enforcement officials in El Paso County over the coming weeks and possibly months as we continue our relentess pursuit of justice for Gannon and his family.”
Mihalko said the sheriff’s office would continue to work closely with its partnering agencies in the meantime.
“We’re not going to talk about the facts of the case going forward,” said Michael Allen, with the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. “We want to make sure we protect these criminal proceedings.”
“We still want to to bring Gannon home so that he can have a proper burial,” Allen said. “We also want to hold the person that we are charging, Letecia Stauch, accountable for what she did in this case.”
It wasn’t clear at first, whether Landen Hiott, Gannon’s biological mother, would address the crowd, however, after several law enforcement representatives discussed today’s news, she stepped forward.
“Never thought I’d be standing here,” Hiott said through tears. “It’s a nightmare.”
“And I’ll make sure justice is served. Because my boy did not deserve any of this that has happened to him,” she said. “[Letecia] will pay 100 percent for this heinous thing she [did].”
A sheriff’s office spokesperson also read a statement written by Al Stauch, Gannon’s father.
“My little boy is not coming home,” he wrote. “We will never play Ninetendo again, no more taco Tuesdays. No more smooth haircuts. No more ‘big bubba’ for [his sister]. And no more ‘G Man’ for the world.”
Speaking to the trust he’d held in his second wife and the charges she’s now facing, Stauch wrote it was “a burden he would carry for a very long time”.
Gannon’s parents held each other and cried as Al’s statement was read.
“I make this promise,” Sheriff Bill Elder said Monday. “This team will continue its work, these partners will remain steadfast and diligent until the conclusion and final prosecution of this case.”
The sheriff’s office said it will continue to accept credible tips in this case. Those can be made by calling 719-520-6666 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.