The stepmother of missing 11-year-old Colorado boy Gannon Stauch was charged with murder as officials are still looking for the child, according to authorities on Monday.
Gannon was reported missing on Jan. 27 after disappearing from his Colorado Springs home. Letecia Stauch, his stepmother, told officials that he ran away from home, and authorities said she was the last person to see him.
“All the evidence points to Gannon’s disappearance being the result of foul play,” FBI agent Dean Phillips told reporters at a news conference on Monday in announcing her arrest.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said that Stauch’s charges include first-degree murder of a child under 12, child abuse, tampering of a body, and evidence tampering, reported Fox21 in Colorado Springs.
A detective who didn’t identify himself said in the press conference that authorities “do not believe Gannon is alive.”
“This is the worst news and the best news,” Gannon’s biological mother, Landra Hiott, said in the news conference. “It’s the best news because justice will be served,” she said before adding that Leticia Stauch “will pay 100 percent for the heinous thing that she did.”
Hiott said she “trusted” Stauch and added: “I want to leave this earth knowing that justice was served,” reported ABC News.
“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,” father Albert Stauch said in a statement, as reported by ABC.
But Leticia Stauch told KKTV that she wasn’t responsible for the child’s death.
“I would never, ever, ever hurt this child,” she said.