Letecia Stauch, a Colorado stepmother accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson, Gannon Stauch, joined briefly for a preliminary hearing in El Paso County on Wednesday but refused to stay the duration as horrific details emerged.
Wearing an orange jumpsuit and a black mask, Stauch waived her right to be present at the preliminary hearing as Gannon’s loved ones joined in for the hearing. Gannon’s mother, Landon Hyatt, was seen wearing a blue Sonic the Hedgehog shirt, which was her son’s favorite character.
“I have confidence in my defense counsel,” Stauch said via Webex before leaving.
Judge Gregory Warner allowed the hearing to continue since Stauch’s legal team was present to represent her.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Stauch is accused of murdering Gannon in January 2020, while his father was away on a work trip. For months, Stauch denied the accusations and claimed that a stranger abducted the boy from their residence after sexually assaulting her. Stauch later claimed that an area sex offender stopped her in her vehicle and kidnapped Gannon.
Stauch was arrested in March 2020, after investigators said they found damning evidence that showed Gannon was likely killed inside his Colorado Springs home, with Letecia being the primary caretaker and the only one with him at the time.
On March 17, 2020, a construction worker found a suitcase under a bridge in Pace, Florida. Inside the suitcase, Gannon was found deceased, curled up in the fetal position. He was wearing the same clothes he was last seen alive in and covered up with a soiled blanket.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Sgt. Jason Yoder with the Major Crimes Unit in Florida took the stand and testified that he was on duty the day Gannon was found. According to Yoder, Gannon had a gunshot wound to his left jaw, a fractured skull, and around 18 stab wounds to his hands and arms.
Yoder testified that the gunshot wound was fatal by itself, but Gannon’s cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma and a gunshot wound because it’s unclear which injury came first. Yoder added that Gannon’s body had been in the suitcase for at least a month before they found him, going by the decomposition stage.
A pillowcase with shark designs on it was also found in the suitcase, along with a matching shark comforter. Both items purportedly had blood on them. A projectile was recovered from the pillow, the prosecution said, along with a projectile found in Gannon’s head.
Gannon’s father, Al Stauch, put his hands on his face and cried as details about his only son emerged.
Next up, witness Kevin Clark with the Colorado Springs Department takes the stand regarding Letecia Stauch’s GPS on the days following Gannon’s disappearance.
Check back shortly for updates.
What Happened to Gannon?
Last year, prosecutors said in a 32-page affidavit that that “probable cause exists to believe that” Letecia Stauch murdered her stepson. Text messages and Internet searches indicate that Stauch may have possibly been overwhelmed with taking care of Gannon.
Search queries allegedly found on Stauch’s phone included, in part:
- find real military singles
- parenting should be 4 people, not one
- ‘im doing all the work for my stepkids and their mom doesnt help
- I wonder if my husbands wife is sending me a card since I. raise. her. kids
- why should my husband choose me over family
- one day some people will wish. they treated you differently
- find me a rich guy who. wants me to take care of his kids
“Based on Letecia’s internet history, it’s reasonable to believe she was unhappily married to Mr. Stauch and had some degree of resentment toward the family as a stepparent,” the affidavit read. “Furthermore, days before Gannon’s murder, Letecia appeared to be researching a move to another state to a two-bedroom apartment.”
Stauch was the sole caregiver at the time of the boy’s disappearance and death. Gannon lived with Stauch and his father, Al Stauch, at the time of his death.
Al Stauch was on a work trip with the U.S. National Guards in Oklahoma when his son vanished. Gannon’s biological mother, Landen Hiott, was in South Carolina. Gannon’s body was found months later, under a bridge in Pace, Florida.
According to the affidavit, Stauch brutally attacked and killed Gannon inside his bedroom on January 27, 2020. Despite a neighbor who said his video showed Stauch leaving with Gannon that morning and later returning home alone, investigators believe that “Gannon likely did return home with Letecia that afternoon,” and died inside the residence.
Evidence from inside Gannon’s bedroom includes blood spatter on the walls, blood that soaked through the carpet, 50 droplets of blood on the wall, blood on wall sockets, and blood on the boy’s mattress.
“Based on the orientation of Gannon’s bed, the vast majority of the blood would be in line with the position of his head and torso,” the affidavit read.
A store receipt obtained by investigators showed a purchase for baking soda, a carpet cleaner, and trash bags on January 27, after 6 p.m. Investigators obtained Stauch’s phone and according to text messages, she instructed her 17-year-old daughter to buy the items for her.
Prosecutors allege that Stauch used the purchased items to clean up the crime scene. Investigators said the 17-year-old was likely not present when Gannon was killed.
Letecia Stauch is facing charges of:
- Murder in the First-Degree (Child Under Twelve-Position of Trust §18-3-102(1)(f))
- Child Abuse Resulting in Death §18-6-401(1)(a), (7)(A)(I)
- Tampering with a Deceased Human Body, §18-8-610.5
- Tampering with Physical Evidence, §18-8-610(1)(a)
PART ONE: Tecia Stauch Interview
PART TWO: Tecia Stauch Interview
PART THREE: Tecia Stauch Interview
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[Feature Photo: Gannon Stauch/Handout; Letecia Stauch via KRDO-TV/The Gazette/ AP, Pool]