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The stepmother of missing Colorado boy Gannon Stauch allegedly slipped out of her handcuffs and attacked a deputy as she was being extradited from South Carolina to Colorado to face charges in his presumed death.
Letecia Stauch, 36, was brought to the El Paso County Jail on Thursday so she could face charges of first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death and tampering with a deceased human body, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. She was the last person to see Gannon, 11, who disappeared on Jan. 27.
The transport of the stepmother to El Paso County from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — where she is originally from and where she was arrested Monday — was reportedly not without incident. While in the back of the law enforcement vehicle, she allegedly slipped out of her cuffs and attacked a deputy, which resulted in her being jailed in Kansas for 12 hours, KKTV in Colorado Springs reports. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has not confirmed this incident and officials there haven't returned Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
Stauch appeared before an El Paso County judge via jail video Thursday and her attorney waived a reading of possible charges against her, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
"I know this is an extremely difficult situation to say the least," El Paso County Judge Denise Peacock told the courtroom during Stauch’s video appearance. "It carries high emotion."
Gannon's parents Landen Hiott and Albert Stauch were present during the court appearance and did not visibly react when Letecia Stauch briefly spoke, which was just to identify herself.
Stauch is now being held without bond. She has been appointed two public defenders, Kathryn Strobel and Kim Chalmers, both of whom work at the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender. They are not available for comment, per office policy.
The stepmother had claimed that Gannon vanished after he left their El Paso County home to walk to a friend’s house. However a neighbor said footage from his home surveillance possibly contradicted Letecia’s account. He told the Denver Post that footage he uncovered showed the boy and a female relative get into a truck the morning of his disappearance; when the truck returned about four hours later, Gannon was absent. 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.
Letecia previously defended herself in an interview with KKTV stating "I would never, never ever hurt this child and I know there are some questions out there." In addition to proclaiming her innocence, she said she'd become the victim of internet vitriol and death threats.
Additionally, in that interview, she accused Hiott of not taking care of Gannon. She also spoke about her stepson in the past tense at times despite also claiming that "he is not dead."
“This stepmom, who I even trusted — she will pay 100 percent for this heinous thing she has done,” Hiott said at a presser held Monday to announce Stauch’s arrest. “I want to leave this earth knowing that justice was served for my boy.”
Gannon’s body has not yet been found.
As the prosecution prepares its case against Stauch, El Paso County Prosecutor Michael Allen told reporters, “It’s a new challenge – a homicide case without a body – but it doesn’t necessarily make it more or less difficult," CBS4 in Denver reports.
It’s unclear how investigators believe that his stepmom killed him. If convicted on the charges she faces, Stauch could face life behind bars.
"Let's continue to work together to find Gannon," the El Paso County Sheriff's Office stated on Monday.
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