May 16, 2023
Letecia Stauch, the woman accused of killing her 11-year-old son, Gannon Stauch, has been found guilty of first-degree murder of a child under 12, child abuse resulting in death, tampering with physical evidence, and tampering with a deceased human body.
The trial, which concluded this month, found Stauch guilty on all counts and saw her sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.
El Paso County Judge Gregory Werner said that the facts of the case were the most horrific he had ever seen, adding that Letecia Stauch showed no remorse throughout the trial.
Gannon Stauch went missing in late January of 2020, with the last sighting of the child reported as at his home on Mandan Drive on the afternoon of January 27th. His stepmother, Letecia, told police that he had went to a friend’s home on the same street and neglected to return.
Investigation would later reveal that Gannon had died a violent death at the hands of his stepmother, who brutally murdered him in his bedroom.
At the time of the murder, she was employed as an assistant teacher for School District 20, and was the last person to see Gannon before he was reported missing.
Gannon's father, Al Stauch, was deployed with the National Guard between the 25 - 28 of January 2020, when Gannon was murdered. Letecia Stauch was the one who reported Gannon missing just before 7pm on January 27, 2020. Initially she told a dispatcher that he was at a friend’s house and hadn't come home on time, however, this story changed several times over the coming days, indicating that she may have been fabricating her story. Further investigation proved that she had not contacted Gannon's friends to enquire about his whereabouts like she said she had. She also began acting strangely following the disappearance of her stepson, which included behaviors such as leaving the state despite her stepsons disappearance, disconnecting her cell phone, hiring a rental car, and falsely reporting a rape.
It wasn't long before detectives began investigating Gannon's disappearance as a homicide, believing that he was likely murdered on the afternoon of the day he was reported missing. The Stauch house was searched and detectives described evidence recovered from the scene in an arrest affidavit as follows: “A violent event occurred in his bedroom, which caused bloodshed, including blood spatter on the walls, and enough blood loss to stain his mattress, soak through the carpet, the carpet pad, and stain the concrete below his bed."
On the day of the murder, Letecia kept Gannon’s siblings away from his bedroom, telling them Gannon was sleeping and could not be disturbed. she was likely cleaning up the crime scene at this time. The Stauch family is a blended family, with several children.
Letecia requested her seventeen-year-old daughter purchase various cleaning products for her around this time, presumably used to clean up the excessive amount of blood.
Gannon did not attend school on the day of his murder and Letecia called off work, telling her employers that her stepfather had been killed in a tragic accident.
Through DNA found on a piece of particleboard discovered just off Highway 105/S, investigators found that after killing her stepson, Mrs. Stauch loaded him into her Volkswagen and dumped his remains on January 28th.
Google searches following the murder showed that Letecia had conducted an online search, enquiring if Nintendo Switch consoles could be tracked. Gannon’s Nintendo Switch was never recovered. Later, a search on Gannon’s phone, “Can a parent find a cell phone if its off?” was executed. Unlike the switch, Gannon’s cell phone was left behind at the residence, likely because it was traceable, unlike the switch. Investigators believe Letecia was attempting to make it appear as if Gannon had voluntarily run away from home to cover up his murder.
Letecia's primary vehicle, a Tiguan, was confirmed to have been in the area of highway 105/S on January 28, 2020, between 20:30 and 22:20.
When interviewed by investigators about her whereabouts on the 27th and 28th of January, Letecia came armed with pre-written notes. She changed her story completely for the initial report that Gannon went missing after going to a friend’s house down the block and instead concocted a story about being raped at gunpoint in the basement of her own home by a Hispanic male named Eguardo, and said her stepson was kidnapped afterwards. She described injuries sustained during the attack, however, there was no evidence of these injuries to her body. She claimed that she had used the cleaning products to clean the house after this attack. Police soon disproved this story through neighborhood surveillance cameras. Letecia refused to be examined by a Sexual Assault Nurse and phone records showed that she was active on her cell phone, texting and chatting during the timeframe of the supposed rape.
She would later change this story, saying she was raped by a man named Quincy Brown, an El Paso felon on the FBI's most wanted list, whom she said lay in front of her car and kidnapped her when she got out to check if he was okay. She claimed he then forced her to drive to her home, where he then raped both her and Gannon. She said she knew the mans name because a document with his identification fell out of his pocket. She claimed Brown then kidnapped Gannon.
She would also later come up with a story about Gannon burning himself with a candle, picking off the blisters and smearing his blood on the walls, likely in a desperate attempt to explain the blood splatter on the walls of the child’s bedroom.
While being investigated, Letecia attempted to obtain fake polygraph test results, which were not emailed to her due to the content of the questions asked.
The details of these stories were everchanging and Letecia feigned illness during interviews with investigators, resulting in a hospital trip.
Numerous Google searchers performed by Letecia suggested issues with her relationship, with deleted searches like "I feel like I’m a nanny not a stepmom", "find a new husband," "sent my husband sexual messages and he ignores them," and "I feel like my husband uses me to babysit his kids". Many of the search pertained to raising someone else’s children, Mr. Stauch's ex-wife and her lack of involvement with her children as well as searches on the process for missing children.
Gannon Stauch's body was found in a suitcase 2 months after going missing, close to the Escambia River Bridge on Interstate 90 near Pace, Florida. The child had 8 stab wounds to the chest and a gunshot to the head, as well as a fractured skull and cuts.
At trial, Stauch’s defense team attempted to convince the court that she had committed the crime due to a “major psychotic crack,” and tried to plead insanity. But the lengths the mother went to, to clean up the crime scene and dispose of the body said otherwise.
Stauch was found guilty of first-degree murder of a child under 12, child abuse resulting in death, tampering with physical evidence, and tampering with a deceased human body and she was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.
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