It was January 27 when 11-year-old Gannon Stauch disappeared from his Colorado Springs home. He missed school that day, and his stepmother, Letecia Stauch, reported him missing shortly before 7 p.m. that night
Letecia’s story about what happened the day Gannon disappeared kept changing, and despite her interviews with the media where she denied she had anything to do with the little boy’s disappearance, she was arrested a month after she reported him missing and charged with his murder.
Letecia initially said that Gannon left their home around 3:15 p.m. on the day he disappeared to walk to his friend’s house, but when he didn’t come home for two hours, she reported him missing, The Daily Beast reported. A neighbor would later tell police his home-security video showed Letecia and Gannon leaving their family home that morning and Letecia returning home alone hours later.
Two days after she reported Gannon missing, Letecia told investigators that a man named Eguardo held her at gunpoint, raped her, and apparently hit her on the head so she blacked out the day Gannon disappeared, according to an arrest affidavit first reported by CBS Denver. She suggested this same man abducted Gannon. On the day Leticia made this new claim, she was two hours late to meet with investigators and brought written notes. Investigators asked Leticia to take a sexual assault forensic exam, but she refused. Surveillance video from a neighbor also showed no one entering the Stauch home at the time she claimed to have been attacked. More from CBS Denver:
Between Jan. 25-28, investigators determined Letecia viewed websites associated with searching for a job in Florida and California. Letecia’s Google search history on Jan. 25 includes, “I’m over doing all the work for my step kids and their mom doesn’t help,” and “one day people will wish they treated you differently.”
On her cell phone, investigators said Letecia searched, “are there any free money to move away from bad situation.” On the morning of Jan. 27, investigators said Letecia searched on Google, “my son burned the carpet how do I fix it?”
In her discussion with Al [Gannon’s father], Letecia, without prompt, provided explanations for why blood would be found on Gannon’s bedroom wall along with an alibi for why she was in the area where the particleboard was recovered. Investigators said information about blood evidence in the home and on the particleboard had not been released publicly at that time.
A search of court records in North Carolina reveals Letecia has a criminal past. Investigators said she was convicted after a trial for communicating threats, a misdemeanor. She was also sentenced to 45 days confinement and 18 months of probation for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Al Stauch is a member of the National Guard and was deployed between January 25 and 28.
Leticia also gave investigators reasons why Gannon’s blood would be found in the home and garage, saying he cut his foot in the garage on Al’s woodworking tools.
In reality, police wrote in their affidavit, it is believed that hours before she reported him missing, Leticia killed Gannon in his bedroom, stuffed his body into her car, and then waited until the next morning to dump his body off the side of a highway. His remains were found on March 18 – after Leticia was arrested and charged with his murder – under an overpass in Florida, though police are unsure how he ended up there.
At a press conference announcing the charges against Leticia, Al and Gannon’s biological mother, Landen Hiott, expressed a desire for justice to be served.
“Justice will be served because my boy does not deserve this,” Hiott said, according to The Daily Beast. “She will pay 100 percent for this thing that she did,” Hiott added, “because I want to live on this Earth knowing that justice will be served for my little boy.”
Al read a statement during the press conference that said: “The person who committed this heinous, horrible crime is one that I gave more to anyone else on this planet, and that is a burden that I will carry with me for a very long time.”