EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Gannon Stauch’s stepmother Letecia “Tecia” Stauch has been arrested for murder. It’s been nearly five weeks since Gannon was reported missing and in that time extensive searches for him have taken place.
Sources close to the parents of Gannon told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger that Gannon’s parents were informed Monday morning that Tecia was arrested. El Paso County made the official announcement just a couple of hours later.
Tecia Stauch was arrested early Monday morning in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and is facing first-degree murder charges for a child under the age of 12 years, child abuse resulting in death and tampering with physical evidence. She will remain in custody without bond in South Carolina until she is extradited to Colorado Springs.
Gannon’s parents were seen standing behind the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office staff, FBI and other investigators during a news conference Monday. They were visibly upset during the announcement, holding hands and shedding tears.
“Justice will be served because my boy does not deserve this,” said Gannon’s mom Landen Hiott. “Please hold off questions until we know that this person, this stepmom that I even trusted, that she will pay 100% for this thing that she did. Because I want to live on this Earth knowing that justice will be served for my little boy.”
The 11-year-old was was first reported missing Jan. 27 after he didn’t return home.
Authorities called him a runaway when they first asked the public for help finding him. But the sheriff’s office announced Jan. 30 that Gannon was considered a missing and endangered child because of the time he had been gone, his age and his reliance on medication.
During the news conference on Monday investigators said they believe that Gannon is no longer alive and that they have yet to locate him. They also said they didn’t believe there was any threat to other children in the community.
“While we have not yet found Gannon, information has been developed that is helping us narrow our search,” said El Paso County Sheriff’s Lt. Mitch Mihalko.
If Leticia is convicted of the charges she is facing, she faces life in prison.
A month ago, she told CBS4 partner KKTV in Colorado Springs that investigators suspected her.
“I asked for a attorney during the interview. I was denied that by them. I was held because they were blocking the door and I was told I couldn’t leave,” she said at the time.
Further suspicion was raised through security camera video recorded by a neighbor. On the day Gannon disappeared, he was believed seen with his stepmother leaving before he was reported missing. Then her truck returned without him.