COLORADO SPRINGS — Investigators braved the cold on Thursday to search for 11-year-old Gannon Stauch, missing from his home in Security since January 27.
“The weather will not deter us from the search. It will not stop us from searching for Gannon,” said Sgt. Deborah Mynatt, spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. “We will just be adding more layers to our attire,” she said.
Temperatures are projected to drop to about 20 degrees in the Fountain area on Thursday night.
Mynatt said larger groups were out actively searching for the boy during the day, including 100 volunteer partners, four horses, and three search and rescue dogs.
One group focused their efforts in the area of Big Johnson Reservoir. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said this particular search was not pulled together due to a particular tip or new information, but rather because new equipment is allowing them to search the frozen reservoir.
The Sheriff’s Office said their investigation lead them to search the area initially on February 1st, and then again on Thursday but with additional equipment and technology that they didn’t have previously.
And, at the same time, just east of the search at the reservoir, a group of Fort Carson soldiers – all volunteers, worked to comb through open fields near Fontaine and Sleepy Meadows Drive.
To date, the Sheriff’s Office has received 280 tips.
It’s been 10 days since Gannon was reported missing by his stepmother, Letecia Stauch, who told investigators the boy had walked to a friend’s house and never came home.
“You might see the crime lab off and on at the Stauch home,” Mynatt said Thursday. “They are collecting different pieces. It is a big, large puzzle and we’re trying to get all those pieces together,” she said.
The mobile crime unit has made several appearances at the home on Mandan Drive over the last week.
As the search and investigation push forward, the community has rallied around the Stauch family, coordinating fundraisers and vigils, hanging posters, and covering the Lorson Ranch Neighborhood with blue lights and ribbons – Gannon’s favorite color.
Wednesday, Al Stauch and Landen Hiott, Gannon’s parents, released a video statement through the El Paso County Youtube channel, urging the public to continue calling in credible tips.
Sitting with her ex-husband and young daughter, Hiott was emotional as she described her missing son.
“He loves riding his bike with sister, know that he is missing that right now. He holds his job as ‘big bubba’ very important,” she said.
No suspects have been named, so far, during the course of this investigation.
Mynatt also addressed what’s become a rampant online rumor mill, with the creation of several social media groups dedicated to exchanging information on this case. One such group has amassed nearly 15,700 members, from all over the world, in less than two weeks.
Some members are reaching out to law enforcement to report conversations held on those pages.
“That takes precious time away from the investigation,” Mynatt said. “We’re not asking for suggestions, we’re not asking for theories or speculation. We’re asking for factual information that you saw with your own eyes. “she continued.
Anyone with information pertaining to this case is urged to call the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office tip line: 719-520-6666 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parents looking for resources to help address this issue with their children can find more information here.