EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) -- It has been one year since 11-year-old Gannon Stauch from Colorado Springs was reported missing by his stepmother. On Jan. 27, 2020, Letecia Stauch called 911 to report that Gannon had not returned after going to a friend's house. Now she's facing charges for his murder.
On Wednesday, Restoration Church released a statement on behalf of Al Stauch, Gannon's father:
"One year ago Gannon disappeared.
"But if it wasn't for God's grace, the prayers of many and my son's legacy, I would surely have quit. Moving on will never even be considered, but equally as an absolute, moving forward is the only option. Without my son life will never be the same and nothing can ever replace him. To all who will read this, hug your children and love them each and every day like tomorrow is a precious gift that is not ever guaranteed. I thank God that he laid on my heart prior to one year ago to have the conversation about eternity with my children, for only through my son confessing his faith in God do I know he rests peacefully at His feet in heaven."
Authorities called Gannon a runaway at first, but three days later the sheriff's office announced that he was considered a missing and endangered child because of the time he had been gone, his age and his reliance on medication.
The search for Gannon went on for more than three weeks.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office tracked over 600 tips and more than 7,000 staff hours were put into the search. Those search efforts involved using drones, horses and canines.
On March 2, just over a month after Gannon was reported missing, his stepmother, Letecia Stauch was arrested for murder in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and officials confirmed they did not think Gannon was alive.
Gannon's remains were found on March 18, in a suitcase under an overpass in Pace, Florida.
The boy's mother, Landen Hiott, shared an emotional memory with KKTV in Colorado Springs on Wednesday.
"He would want happiness. He would want lives changed. He would want people to smile, to have that contagious smile to light up the room. If something bad happened or you're having a bad day, just to remember the good things."
Investigators now believe Gannon was killed in his bedroom on the day he was reported missing.
According to the affidavit, and there was "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."
Two days after reporting him missing, Letecia Stauch changed her story -- claiming a man named "Eguardo" raped her at gunpoint, then took off with Gannon after he tried to stop the assault.
Letecia Stauch faces a charge of first-degree murder with intent and deliberation, plus eight other "crime of violence" sentencing enhancer charges.
Stauch's preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin on March 11 and is expected to last three days. At that hearing, prosecutors will be presenting evidence about the investigation to establish probable cause. They will also ask that Stauch continue to be held without bond.
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