(EL PASO COUNTY, Colo.) — Leticia Stauch, the stepmother of missing 11-year-old Colorado boy Gannon Stauch , was arrested for his murder Monday morning, authorities said.
Leticia Stauch was taken into custody in South Carolina. She will be held without bond in Horry County, South Carolina, until she is extradited to Colorado Springs, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said at a news conference on Monday.
Landen Hiott, Gannon’s mother, was overcome with emotion at Monday’s news conference, calling this a “nightmare.”
Hiott said she “trusted” Gannon’s stepmother, adding, “I want to leave this earth knowing that justice was served.”
Gannon Stauch was last seen on Jan. 27, the same day his stepmother, Leticia Stauch, reported him missing. She told authorities he was last seen at home between 3:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. before leaving to walk to a friend’s house, according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
His body has not been found, Elder said.
The sheriff said the charges against Leticia Stauch are first-degree murder of a child under 12 by a person in a position of trust; child abuse resulting in death; tampering with a deceased human body; and tampering with physical evidence.
Gannon Stauch’s father, Albert Stauch, said through a statement read on his behalf Monday, “the person who committed this heinous, horrible crime is one that I gave more to than anyone else on this planet — and that is a burden that I will carry with me for a very long time.”
Leticia Stauch denied having anything to do with her stepson’s disappearance in an interview last month with KKTV, a CBS affiliate in Colorado Springs.
“I would never, ever, ever hurt this child,” she told the station.
Efforts to reach Leticia Stauch’s attorney on Monday were unsuccessful.
Gannon Stauch was initially reported as a runaway, but on Jan. 30 his disappearance was changed to a missing/endangered persons case.
A neighbor said footage captured by his security camera the day Gannon Stauch went missing showed Leticia Stauch driving away with the boy in the morning and returning hours later alone. Authorities have said they are aware of the footage and have not disputed the neighbor’s description, but have described it only as “one piece in a very, very, very large puzzle.”
Elder said Monday, “This investigation has only begun.”
There’s no information indicating a threat to other children in the community, FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips said.
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