DENVER (CBS4) — Caden McWilliams, the 7-year-old boy was found dead in a storage unit in Denver back in December, had methamphetamine in his system, according to the forensic pathologist. McWilliams also had numerous injuries on his head and body, and was severely emaciated. Investigators could not determine the cause of death but said child maltreatment was a contributing factor.
The body of Caden McWilliams was found in a storage unit at 5005 E. Evans Ave. just before Christmas, according to the Denver Police Department.
However, police records list his date of death as May 24, 2018 — nearly six months earlier.
On Friday, the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner released the autopsy results.
“The postmortem examination reveals severe emaciation of the body consistent with a malnourished or deprived state. Numerous injuries of the head, trunk, and extremities are also noted,” officials stated.
“It is possible the decedent experienced complications of injuries (e.g., infection or sepsis); however, he may have also suffered a component of asphyxia, dehydration, and/or hyperthermia, which cannot be confirmed,” the report continues.
“Of note, there is also detection of a cocaine metabolite and methamphetamine in liver tissue obtained at autopsy,” the report states. “Given the highly suspicious nature to this death, the findings of the postmortem examination, and that the decedent is a young child who is dependent on others for his care, the manner of death is homicide.”
His mother, Elisha Pankey, was formally charged with child abuse resulting in death and abuse of a corpse.
Court records show Pankey was arrested for possession of heroin on Dec. 22, the day before the body was found.
McWilliams’ father, 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.
In January, a judge granted an order of protection for Pankey’s other son, Camden, and appointed a legal guardian for him.