“As you can tell from the initial missing child report, to the arrest and charges in early March, and now the wonderful, yet gut-wrenching news that Gannon's body has been recovered, this has been a heartbreaking and absolutely devastating time period in my life,” Al Stauch said in a statement posted by Restoration Church in Colorado Springs, where he is a member of the congregation.
The remains of a boy were discovered on Tuesday by a Florida Department of Transportation road crew doing work on the Escambia River Bridge in Pace, Florida, a spokesperson at the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office told Oxygen.com.
An autopsy was performed and the remains have been tentatively identified as the 11-year-old Gannon, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department in Colorado has said. Gannon supposedly disappeared near his home in El Paso County on Jan. 27 and his stepmom Letecia Stauch had claimed that he vanished after leaving home to walk to a friend’s house.
She was charged earlier this month with the boy’s murder.
Letecia’s public defenders Kathryn Strobel and Kim Chalmers are not available for comment per office policy.
It’s been an emotional few months. Al Stauch reportedly broke down in February after a neighbor showed him footage he claimed contradicted Letecia’s account of the day Gannon vanished. The neighbor told the Denver Post that footage he uncovered showed the boy and a female relative getting into a truck the morning of his disappearance; when the truck returned about four hours later, there was no sign of Gannon. In a previous statement provided to local outlet KDVR, Letecia maintained that she and Gannon had gone shopping that day and returned home together, even if the video did not appear to show it.
Al Stauch filed for divorce from Letecia shortly after she was arrested for murder earlier this month in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She was then extradited back to El Paso County, Colorado.
“I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to the community here in Colorado and all over the nation to express my deepest gratitude and true heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming support,” Al Stauch said in his statement, adding that he wanted to thank “those who are loving, supportive, and peaceful.”
Al Stauch will likely not give any public interviews or statements until the end of the case, he said.
Furthermore, he said, “if there is any question about whom I trust, take a look at who releases this statement. Anyone else is simply using me, my precious, heartbroken daughter, and my loving family as fodder for their personal agenda, which is absolutely despicable.”
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Department is asking that anyone who may have spotted Letecia in Pace or Pensacola, Florida between Feb. 3 and Feb. 5 to contact them at their tip line, 719-520-6666, or by email at email@example.com.
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