EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — A new petition on change.org is asking for signatures to create a law to change the way children under the age of 13 are reported missing.
11-year-old Gannon Stauch disappeared on Jan. 27. His stepmother, Letecia Stauch, said she last saw him between 3:15 and 4 p.m. heading to a friend’s home in their Lorson Ranch neighborhood. Gannon was first reported as a runaway and it wasn’t until three days later that the case was upgraded to a missing and endangered child.
The petition has already received more than 12,000 signatures since it was created less than 24 hours ago.
“Due to the caregiver in charge alluding to a runaway situation the police response time was longer than it would have been in a typical missing child case and when they arrived *based on info provided by the present caregiver* they listed Gannon as a runaway losing critical and valuable time that could’ve been spent getting leads on this case. It is said that after the first 72 hours the chances of finding a child are dramatically reduced. In that entire 72 hours no Amber Alerts were issued. The community was not informed of a missing and possibly endangered child.”STATED IN THE DESCRIPTION OF THE CHANGE.ORG PETITION
Taran Witt from Woodbridge, Virginia created the petition. The mother and daycare provider said after many sleepless nights she wanted to do something to help. This is the first time she’s created a petition.
“What can I do to help some change so that they can have all the tools they need from the beginning from very early on to make sure a child that age is never again listed as a runaway for three days before being changed to missing and endangered,” Witt said.
She is pushing for national change. She’s spoken with her governor and wishes legislation will be passed to help other children who might go missing in the future.
“I think that it’s common sense and most people will agree that it is common sense that a child under 13 years old is not safe even if they ran away or left a note or took their backpack. That doesn’t mean that they are ok they are still in danger,” Witt explained.
Witt did speak with Gannon’s mother for permission before creating the petition. Witt said she hopes it also continues the awareness of the search for Gannon.
“The amount of signatures that we’ve gotten so far that quick, in my opinion, goes to show how many people are in agreeance with the fact that something does need to change,” Witt added.
Gannon is about 4 feet 9 inches tall and about 90 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue jacket and jeans at home, off Mandan Drive in Security.
At this point, no suspects have been named in this case, and it is not being called a criminal investigation.
The Sheriff’s Office is asking for anyone who has factual information related to the disappearance of Gannon Stauch to call 719-520-6666 or email Tips@elpasoco.com.