A Colorado community is desperately searching for a missing 11-year-old boy with medication needs.
Gannon Stauch vanished last Monday afternoon after his stepmom said he left his home in Security to walk to a friend’s house, according to the El Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. Nearly 200 people joined local police and the FBI over the weekend to help look for the 11-year-old around his rural home, the sheriff’s office stated on Facebook. While unclear if they found anything, they noted they have received at least 134 tips.
While Stauch was originally described by investigators as a runaway, the case was upgraded to a missing and endangered person by Thursday, Lt. Mitch Mihalko said during a Thursday press conference. Weather, time, his age and his medication needs all played a factor into that decision, he said.
"Gannon, Bubba, Little man, Mommy's hero, wherever you're at, mommy and daddy are here,” Landen Hiott, the boy’s mother, said at that presser. “We're begging and pleading for you to come home."
Mihalko told reporters that investigators are exhausting every lead and that there are several persons of interest being interviewed. Asked if there are any signs of foul play, Mihalko said investigators are just focused on finding Stauch. He said he was hopeful to find the boy alive. Hiott became visibly upset as Mihalko spoke and Stauch’s father, Albert Stauch, consoled her.
One reporter also asked if the boy's stepmother was cooperating with investigators and Mihalko replied that they are exhausting all leads. Investigators also condemned people for spreading rumors about the case online.
Letecia "Tecia" Stauch, the last person to see the boy, defended herself in an interview with KKTV.
"I would never, never ever hurt this child and I know there are some questions out there," she said, insisting that she has been cooperating.
Hiott thanked the community for the “outpouring of help” she’s received.
"My son is a very loving kid. He wouldn't want harm on anybody at all and it's so hard to think, 'Why is this happening to him?' I have no clue,” she said in an emotional plea for her son to come home. “My kid deserves to come home. My kid has a purpose, my kid has a life and is important to me and is important to everybody that is standing in this room."
She explained that Stauch was born prematurely at under two pounds, yet beat the odds and survived and grew into a "talented" young man. She said she has hope that her son is okay and asked everyone to hope along with her.
"Daddy loves you so much, please come home," Albert Stauch said while crying during the presser.
Gannon was last seen wearing a blue jacket, blue jeans and tennis shoes. Anyone with tips is urged to call the El Paso County Sheriff's Department at 719-520-6666.
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