Gannon Stauch case: Investigators detail evidence against stepmother

The 11-year-old Colorado Springs boy who disappeared from his family’s home in January 2020 was shot and stabbed, a detective testified Thursday during a preliminary hearing in the murder case prosecutors have brought against the boy’s stepmother, Letecia Stauch.

Gannon Stauch, 11, disappeared from his family’s Colorado Springs home on Jan. 27, 2020. Letecia Stauch, 38, was the last person to see him alive, and authorities believe she killed Gannon in his bedroom while the two were home alone that afternoon.

The boy’s body was found March 17, 2020, under a bridge near Pensacola, Florida, wrapped in bedding and inside a suitcase. He had been shot in the jaw, stabbed in the chest and back, and suffered a skull fracture. He also had cuts on his arms and hands that appeared to be defensive wounds, Sgt. Jason Yoder, with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, testified Thursday.

Gannon’s body appeared to have been in the suitcase for some time, Yoder testified. Authorities found a bullet in his skull, and two bullets in a pillow that was with him in the suitcase, he said.

In Gannon’s bedroom, investigators found evidence of blood splatter on the walls and blood stains on his mattress, carpet and bedroom floor. Authorities also found traces of Gannon’s blood on the family’s garage floor and on the bumper of Stauch’s car, according to an affidavit filed against her.

On the day Gannon disappeared, Stauch asked her teenage daughter to stop by a store and buy carpet-cleaning supplies, baking soda, trash bags and other items around 5 p.m, according to the affidavit.

She called 911 to report Gannon as missing, saying he had failed to return from a friend’s house, but she couldn’t name the friend he was supposedly visiting, and her account changed constantly throughout the investigation, sometimes including details about the crime that only the killer would know, according to the affidavit.

The morning after Gannon disappeared, Stauch drove her car to the Colorado Springs airport and parked there. She then rented a car, picked up Gannon’s father from a flight — he’d been out of town for two days — and returned home in the rented car, testified Kevin Clark, who worked the case as an analyst for Colorado Springs police.

Later that night, Stauch retrieved her car and then drove to the area near Colorado 105 and South Perry Park Road in Douglas County, where investigators believe she initially dumped Gannon’s body. Stauch’s phone appeared to be in airplane mode for several hours that night, testimony revealed.

On Feb. 1, 2020, Stauch rented a van and drove with her teenage daughter from Colorado to Pensacola. They arrived just after midnight on Feb. 4, he testified.

In an unusual move Thursday, Stauch declined to be present during the preliminary hearing, instead allowing the proceeding to go forward without her.

Stauch’s online activity and Google searches suggested she was unhappy in her marriage and may have resented caring for her stepchildren, according to the affidavit.

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