MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Letecia Stauch, who is accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson Gannon Stauch, was released into the custody of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office (EPCSO) on Tuesday shortly after a court appearance in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, jail records show.
Letecia Stauch, 36, was arrested on Monday on charges including first-degree murder. Gannon Stauch remains missing.
She appeared at the hearing through a closed-circuit video and audio feed, according to the local NBC station.
During the six-minute court appearance, Letecia Stauch seemed confused and said she hadn't had an opportunity to consult with her attorney.
"Well I've still never been given the opportunity to, like, since the beginning to even call my attorney and even talk to him about any of these things," she told the judge.
Judge Clifford L. Welsh was unmoved by her comments and continued on with the hearing.
Letecia Stauch eventually waived her right to an extradition hearing, which would have taken place in about 90 days. Since she waived her right to that hearing, Colorado had 20 days to bring her back to face charges, according to Welsh.
He refused to set bond, but said given the seriousness of the charges, he couldn't do that anyway.
"When somebody is a fugitive from one state, I don't let them be a fugitive from two states," he said. "It's not like if you had answered either way it would make any difference as far as the hearing today goes. Cause I'm not going to set bond, of course, with the charges involved, I couldn't set bond anyway."
Letecia Stauch was arrested Monday morning without incident on the following charges:
- First-degree murder of a child under 12 by a person in a position of trust
- Tampering with a deceased human body
- Tampering with physical evidence
- Child abuse resulting in death
Her stepson, Gannon, was last seen more than five weeks ago on Jan. 27. On that day, Letecia Stauch told investigators she last saw Gannon at his home in Lorson Ranch between 3:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. She told the El Paso County Sheriff's Office (EPCSO) Gannon said he was going to a friend's house. No one has seen him since.
On that same day, a neighbor captured surveillance video, which appears to show Gannon getting into a truck. The neighbor told KRDO, our sister station in Colorado Springs, the truck belongs to Letecia Stauch. Investigators with EPCSO haven't commented on the video except to say it's part of their investigation.
Investigators have not said what evidence led them to arrest Letecia Stauch, and court documents in the case remain sealed.
> Watch Letecia Stauch's court appearance below.
Gannon's biological parents were devastated by Monday's developments. They described their son as energetic and happy and said he loved sports. His dad, Al Stauch, said his infectious smile and constant laughter made an impact on every person he met.
"Just hold on [to] questions until we know that this person, this stepmom that I even trusted, that she will pay 100% for this heinous thing she done," said Landen Hiott, Gannon's biological mother after learning of the arrest. "I know where my son's at without a shadow of a doubt. I want to leave this earth knowing justice was served for my boy."
> Watch Landen's Hiott's full statement below.
People who live in the Stauchs' Colorado Springs community say they don't believe they'll ever know the complete truth. However, what they do know is the pain they all feel for a boy they had never heard of five weeks ago. Gannon wasn't a name they were familiar with, but now they're aware of so many personal details like that the 11-year-old loved video games, Sonic the Hedgehog especially, and his favorite color was blue.
"You know, he’s just on our minds all the time," said Nancy Watson who lives near a growing memorial for Gannon. "Through the vigil, making the ribbons, everything. He’s just on our minds. He’s become part of our family, part of our everyday lives. We thought he was coming home."
9Wants to Know has found criminal justice files dating back to 2001 that name Letecia Stauch as a suspect and defendant.
Two police reports from Lumberton, North Carolina indicate Stauch was arrested at least twice in 2001 for getting into a fight and then stealing a car.
Records also reveal she was under the supervision of the North Carolina Department of Corrections for a period of time.
Since Gannon's disappearance crews have searched specific areas for any sign of the boy. They included Johnson Reservoir, which is about five minutes away from the home where he was last seen. It was frozen over at the time, so crews used submersible remotely operated vehicle equipped sonar to search the water.
Crews later focused on an area in southern Douglas County where an “outside search” was conducted near Highway 105 between Palmer Lake and Larkspur.
Gannon remains missing and investigators said Monday they no longer believe he's alive.
> Watch the entire press conference announcing Letecia Stauch's arrest below.
"While we have not yet found Gannon, information has been developed that is helping us narrow our search," said Lieutenant Mitch Mihalko with EPCSO.
"As you can see from the arrest sadly we do not believe Gannon is alive. Our work is only just beginning and you will continue to see many law enforcement officials in El Paso County over the coming weeks or possibly months as we continue our relentless pursuit of justice for Gannon and his family."
If you have information you feel is pertinent to Gannon’s case please call the Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at 719-520-6666, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have not already done so.
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