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Husband of mom, who turned herself in after 7-year-old found dead, in court for assault charges

Leland Pankey is the husband of Elisha Pankey, the mom of 7-year-old Caden McWilliams, who was found dead in a Denver storage unit last month. He is believed to have been dead since May.

The husband of Elisha Pankey, who has been arrested and held for child abuse resulting in death after her 7-year-old son was found dead in a Denver storage unit, appeared in court Friday.

Leland Pankey, 39, has been charged with second-degree assault following a Nov. 27, 2017 incident in which he is accused of assaulting his wife of 3.5 years, according to a Denver Police Department arrest affidavit.

Leland Pankey was arrested Dec. 27, 2018.

His court appearance comes days after 43-year-old Elisha Pankey turned herself in to Denver police. Elisha Pankey is the mother of Caden McWilliams, the child who was last seen May 24, according to Denver police spokesman John White. McWilliams' body was found in a storage unit Dec. 23.

Elisha Pankey is being held for child abuse resulting in death, according to a news release from the Denver Police Department. Police have not yet released details on the events that led to Caden McWilliam's death.

Elisha Pankey and Leland Pankey were married in 2014, according to court records.

The affidavit from the Nov. 27, 2017 assault incident says Leland Pankey held his wife down on the couch and "began to strangle her" and was accusing her of "spying on him by the use of electronic devices."

His wife told officers that while Leland Pankey was squeezing her neck, she lost consciousness for an unknown amount of time, regained consciousness and that Leland Pankey then strangled her again, at which time she lost consciousness for a second time, the affidavit says.

When she woke up, his wife then said she ran to the leasing office, and "both children remained at home" with Leland Pankey, who she also said took her driver's license, house and car keys and credit cards, and then left the apartment, according to the affidavit.

The investigator, in the affidavit, stated that he received photos from the victim showing her injuries, which included red marks around her neck from the strangulation.

Elisha Pankey's (pictured below) arrest came after the Aurora Police Department contacted their counterparts in Denver on Dec. 23 regarding a missing 7-year-old boy.

Credit: Denver Police Department

Investigators found that child’s body inside a storage unit at 5005 E. Evans Ave. that same day, the news release said.

The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner has not said how the boy died. 

Homicide records obtained by 9NEWS indicate police believe the boy has been dead since May 24. The child found at the Evans address was identified in police homicide records as Caden McWilliams. His cause of death was listed as unknown. 

Pankey appeared in court Thursday afternoon, and is being held in the Downtown Detention Center on a $250,000 bond. Her next court date has not been set.  

Tina Wright, a neighbor at Elisha Pankey's last known address, identified Caden McWilliams in a Facebook post on Elisha Pankey's page. The post was from Dec. 2, 2013. 

Credit: Facebook screen grab

According to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records, Elisha Pankey has a criminal history in Colorado dating back to 2000, when she was arrested for driving under the influence. 

The day before her son was found dead, Colorado Bureau of Investigation records say Elisha Pankey was arrested in Aurora for heroin possession. 

DPD is asking anyone with information about the case to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP. You can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a $2,000 reward. 

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