DENVER (CBS4) – The 7-year-old boy whose body was found in a storage unit in Denver died more than six months ago, police records show. The date of death for Caden McWilliams is listed as May 24, 2018. No alert about a missing endangered child was ever issued.
The boy’s body in a storage unit at 5005 E. Evans Ave. just before Christmas.
Now Caden’s mother, 43-year-old Elisha Pankey, is being held for investigation of child abuse resulting in death. Pankey turned herself in to Denver police on Wednesday and appeared in a Denver courtroom Thursday afternoon.
CBS4 has confirmed she is the mother of the boy but the body has not been officially identified by Denver’s coroner. Investigators have not released the cause of death or manner of death.
On her Facebook page, she shared memories of Caden as he grew up, “My baby boy lost his first tooth! Love you, Caden.”
Court records show Pankey was arrested for possession of heroin on Dec. 22, the day before the body was found.
Tina Wright, Pankey’s former landlord, said she knew of alleged domestic disputes that took place in the apartment, and elsewhere, between Pankey and her husband, Leland Pankey.
“He is definitely a wired person, he is high-strung. I have heard them yelling and screaming all the time in that apartment,” said Wright.
However, Wright said she did not expect it would put the child in any danger.
Leland Pankey is currently in jail. Court records show he was arrested in November 2017 after allegedly choking his wife until she lost consciousness. According to the affidavit, two children were home during the alleged attack.
Leland Pankey had accused his wife of spying on him with electronic devices, according to court documents.
Wright, and others at the Cherry Plaza Apartments remember when Pankey lived there. She said, before the family was evicted, she remembered Caden riding his scooter and visiting office staff often.
“He was a sweet boy. He played. He was very quiet. He would play outside with his toys. You would talk to him, he would talk to you,” Wright said. “You would give something to him, and he would say, ‘Thank you, Miss Tina.’”
Bond for Pankey was set at $250,000. Her next court appearance was scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 9.
Police are asking anyone with information regarding Pankey or her 7-year-old son to please contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).