A South Carolina woman was formally charged with murdering her 11-year-old stepson Gannon Stauch at El Paso County Court House in Colorado on Wednesday.
Letecia Stauch, 36, was the last to see her stepson Gannon alive in Lorson Ranch, east of Fountain, Colorado, on Jan. 27. According to Letecia Stauch, Gannon went on foot to a friend’s home but never came home.
In surveillance video footage taken by Stauch’s neighbor, Gannon can be seen in what appears to be a groggy state being escorted by his stepmom to a car and being driven away. Some four hours later Stauch returned without her son, The Denver Post reported.
In another statement provided to KKTV, Stauch said she went shopping with her stepson by car, and then they came back together.
Stauch was arrested at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and extradited to El Paso County. She was charged on Wednesday with first-degree murder of a child under 12 by a person of trust, child abuse resulting in death, tampering with a deceased body, and tampering with evidence in court.
Though a full body of evidence has yet to be found, Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Allen said his office has assembled strong enough evidence to build a case against Stauch.
“It’s still ongoing, but with five weeks of really strong active investigation, it’s generated a lot of evidence, lots of reports, lots of digital evidence, that sort of thing,” Allen told reporters.
Stauch appeared in a mint-green jumpsuit handcuffed in court and reportedly avoided any eye-contact with Gannon’s family, his father Al Stauch, and his mother Landen Hiott, who were sitting in the front row. Stauch did not seem to be emotional and did not say a word.
Allen ruled out the possibility of seeking the death sentence despite recent legislature repealing the death penalty, which is due to be signed by Colorado Governor Jared Polis.
Prosecutors have 21 days to present a probable cause affidavit and to make the 107 warrants filed against Stauch available to the defense team. Allen said he is not looking for a plea deal.
“I’m not thinking plea right now, I’m thinking trial,” he told reporters.
According to The Gazette, Stauch also assaulted a police officer in Kansas while she was being transported to El Paso County.
Gannon’s father, Al Stauch, is currently reportedly filing for divorce.
Letecia Stauch is set to reappear in court for a status hearing on April 14.