Stepmother of Missing Colo. 11-Year-Old Gannon Stauch Charged with Murder, Boy's Body Not Yet Found

Gannon was reported missing by his stepmother, who claimed he went to a friend's house and was never seen again

Gannon Stauch, Letecia Stauch
Gannon Stauch and Tecia Stauch. Photo: El Paso County Sheriff's Office

The stepmother of missing Colorado 11-year-old Gannon Stauch has been arrested on murder charges in the boy’s presumed death, authorities said at a Monday press conference.

Letecia “Tecia” Stauch was arrested in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and is being held there without bond. She will eventually be extradited back to Colorado Springs.

She faces charges of murder in the first degree of a child under 12; child abuse resulting in death; tampering with a deceased human body and tampering with physical evidence, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said in a press conference on Monday.

letecia stauch
Letecia Stauch.

“We do not believe Gannon is alive,” El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Mitch Mahalko stated at the press conference, also noting that details of what led to Leticia Stauch’s arrest will not be released in deference to the ongoing investigation.

“This case has become very personal and will forever remain in our hearts,” he added.

Though authorities have not yet recovered Gannon’s body, FBI Special Agent Dean Philips said, “At this point, all the evidence points to [Gannon’s] disappearance being related to foul play … and we have no evidence of an [ongoing] threat to the community.”

From early on, public suspicion swirled around Stauch after a neighbor’s video surveillance surfaced that seemed to contradict what she told the police.

Letecia Stauch GoFundMe

In an exclusive statement to Fox Denver 31, Stauch thanked those looking for her stepson, and begged him to come home — and also appeared to imply that the boy may have been abducted.

“I encourage you to think of any suspicious cars that may have been in the area watching a few days prior and keep praying for G,” she said in the statement.

Initially, the sheriff’s office responded to the stepmom’s statement by saying they have no reason to believe the boy was kidnapped. But since then, the sheriff’s office has asked the public to notify them if they’ve seen a strange car in the Lorson Ranch neighborhood.

Gannon was reported missing Jan. 27 by his stepmother. Stauch allegedly told police the boy left home between 3:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. to walk to a friend’s house, according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

Initial reports from the sheriff’s office described Gannon as a “runaway,” but on January 30, the agency’s social media posts shifted to describe him as missing and endangered.

Hundreds of people, including agents from the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team, assisted in search efforts to find the boy. A team of 52 search-and-rescue volunteers and National Guard members searched the Big Johnson Reservoir using a Colorado Parks and Wildlife submersible, remotely-operated vehicle equipped with sonar as well as open fields near Fontaine and Sleepy Meadows Drive for any signs of the boy.

Gannon Stauch Landen Hiott

During the investigation, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office also investigated more than 800 tips and spent days collecting evidence at the family’s home.

The boy’s disappearance shook the bedroom community of Fountain where Gannon lived with his father, stepmother and siblings.

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Aragon said porch lights around Gannon’s neighborhood were lit up in blue in honor of the boy’s favorite color. “The little boy really loved the color blue, so you see a lot of house lights across the community, porch lights, in blue,” he said. “So when the lights go down, the sun goes down, you can see a blue glow all over the community, which is really neat.”

Last week, the family posted an emotional video statement on the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office’s YouTube page about Gannon’s disappearance.

0:28 / 4:14 Gannon’s parents Landen Hiott, Albert Stauch, and sister Laina Stauch’s statement

“This week has been awful. It’s been more than a rollercoaster ride,” Gannon’s mother, Landen Hiott, said in the video. “It’s been more than an emotional mess. I don’t have answers for my feelings, other than I’m afraid. I’m afraid that I’ll never hear his voice, that I’ll never hear him run and say, ‘Mommy!’”

Hiott asked anyone with information about her son to come forward.

“If you’re too afraid because you know something — a kid just doesn’t disappear and no one sees him. It’s not how this works,” Hiott, said. “So, if you have anything that’s credible — if you’re afraid, don’t worry about it. Imagine my son, how afraid he is. Imagine how afraid Gannon is.”

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