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A detective provided graphic new information about the death of 11-year-old Gannon Stauch, the Colorado boy allegedly killed by his stepmother last year.
Sgt. Jason Yoder of the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office in Florida took the stand on Thursday to describe what happened to Stauch. He was the first witness at the preliminary hearing as prosecutors prepare for a murder trial against Letecia Stauch, 36.
Gannon vanished in Colorado’s El Paso County on Jan. 27, 2020 and his remains were discovered all the way in Florida two months later by a road crew. Yoder responded to the call after the crew found the body inside a suitcase under a bridge last March, Colorado outlet KDVR reports.
He told the court that he opened the suitcase to find the body of a small boy wrapped in blankets. Yoder believes the body had been in the suitcase for about a month. He testified that boy had suffered a fractured skull, a gunshot wound in lower left jaw, and stab wounds to left chest and right back. He noted that the autopsy report said Gannon suffered 18 sharp force injuries in all.
He also made it clear that the boy likely fought back. Cuts on Gannon’s hands and arms were consistent with defensive wounds, Yoder testified.
Letecia Stauch was the last person to see the Gannon alive before he vanished. She initially told authorities he'd gone missing after leaving the family's home visit a friend. She later portrayed herself as the victim of false rumors about her involvement. She was ultimately arrested March 2 in South Carolina.
She is also accused of enlisting her then-17-year-old daughter to help cover up Gannon's murder. She allegedly instructed the teen to purchase carpet cleaner, trash bags, and other cleaning supplies. Letecia allegedly dumped Gannon's body off Highway 105 in Colorado’s Douglas County before his body was later moved to Florida.
Letecia’s public defenders, Kathryn Strobel and Kim Chalmers, are not available for comment, per office policy. Letecia stated last year that she is innocent of the charges filed against her. Last September, her attorneys asked for a second opinion about her competency. In January, she was found competent to stand trial.
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