A piece of security footage uncovered by a neighbor of a missing Colorado boy reportedly brought the child’s father to tears, though it's unclear what that evidence has shown.
Gannon Stauch, 11, vanished Jan. 27 after his stepmom said he left his Colorado Springs-area home to walk to a friend’s house, according to the El Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. It's not clear if he made it to that home. Since then, investigators and the community have been desperately trying to find the child, who has special medication needs.
Roderrick Drayton, who lives a few houses down from the Stauch family, scanned through surveillance footage from the day Stauch vanished, local outlet KDVR reports. What he found may hold crucial clues in the case. He said when he showed a portion of it to Stauch’s father, Albert Stauch, he had an emotional reaction.
“He just broke down crying,” Drayton told KDVR.
Drayton said Stauch then called detectives, who also had a strong reaction to the footage.
“They said this is the break they needed,” Drayton claimed. Soon after, investigators entered the Stauch home and left with bags full of potential evidence, KDVR reports.
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is not revealing what is on that footage, and any outlet that obtained a copy, including KDVR, has been told to hold off divulging its details so as to not jeopardize the investigation.
Meanwhile, Stauch’s stepmother Letecia "Tecia" Stauch, the last person to see the boy, says she is being overwhelmed by vilifying comments and threats. She told KKTV she's received at least 20 death threats.
"The rumors have gotten so bad," she told the outlet. "I'm like, 'Why are you saying Gannon is dead?' He is not dead. We are gonna find Gannon."
She said she took Gannon hiking at Garden of the Gods, a touristy hiking area, shortly before he vanished, a fact she says has led to rumors of his death.
"There was comments about Gannon getting pushed off the hike and comments about this and that. That's not true. I took care of Gannon for the last two years in our home because his mother didn’t want to do it,” she alleged. “I would never, never, ever hurt this child. And I know there are some questions out there ... that's up to the investigations -- when they end up letting you guys know -- but I've cooperated with them.”
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 press conference that same day. Weather, time, his age and his medication needs all played a factor into that decision, he said. 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.
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.
“Gannon, Bubba, Little man, Mommy's hero, wherever you're at, mommy and daddy are here,” Landen Hiott, the boy’s mother, said at the news conference. “We're begging and pleading for you to come home."
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