Colorado Springs police arrested the chatty stepmother of Gannon Staunch exactly 5 months after the 11-year-old boy went missing.
Gannon's stepmother Leticia Stauch was arrested in South Carolina on Monday, Colorado authorities confirmed.
The charges include child abuse resulting in death, tampering with a body, and tampering with physical evidence.
"As you can see by the arrest, we no longer believe Gannon is alive," Lt. Mitch Mihalko said at a press conference on Monday. Police have not recovered Gannon's body. They will continue searching the El Paso area for Gannon's body. The search can take weeks or months.
Stauch told police the boy went missing after he walked over to a friend's house on Jan. 27. Stauch told police she last saw Gannon at 3:15 p.m. that day.
Stauch gave numerous television interviews, complaining that Gannon's biological mother was living in her house with her husband. She said she couldn't go home while her husband's ex-wife was there.
Gannon's supporters observed that Stauch was enjoying the attention from the media.
Stauch told reporters she believed Gannon had been abducted. But a neighbor's surveillance video showed Gannon getting into Stauch's pickup truck on the day he went missing.
The surveillance video is very dark, but if you look closely you can see Gannon at the 1:30 mark getting in at the rear driver's side door. Then at the 1:39 mark Stauch (wearing a white cap) is seen getting into the truck and driving off.
The video shows Stauch returning to the home alone about an hour later. At the 6:35 mark she is seen exiting the truck alone. She appears to be carrying a white towel.
"Justice will be served because my boy does not deserve this," said Gannon's biological mother Landen Hiott.
Gannon's father, Albert Stauch, said in a statement read aloud at the press conference, "The person who committed this heinous, horrible crime is one that I gave more to anyone else on this planet, and that is a burden that I will carry with me for a very long time."
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