Gunshot to the jaw, 18 stab wounds: preliminary hearing reveals gruesome details in Gannon’s Stauch’s murder

State - Regional

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Letecia Stauch, the woman accused of murdering her stepson Gannon Stauch in Jan. of 2020, appeared in court on Thursday and Friday for a preliminary hearing.

Gannon Stauch went missing from his home in El Paso County. The 11-year-old was reported as a runaway.

On Jan. 27, 2020, Letecia Stauch called the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and reported Gannon left their home near Colorado Springs and never returned. 

Gannon’s disappearance sparked a nationwide search. A petition was started on change.org asking for signatures to create a law to ensure children under the age of 13 are classified as missing or endangered.

In Feb. 2020, Gannon’s stepmom, Letecia, received significant criticism online, with many accusing her of being involved in Gannon’s disappearance. She shared a statement about his disappearance.

Police arrested Gannon’s stepmom on March 2 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 

They found Gannon’s body in Pace, Florida on March 18. 

Since March 2020, Stauch has been held in the El Paso County Jail.

In September 2020, state psychiatrists told the court Stauch is competent enough to stand trial but her attorneys asked for a second opinion.  

On Jan. 27, 2021, Stauch was found competent to stand trial.

NICOLE FIERRO PROVIDES UPDATES FROM COURT:

FOX31 and Channel 2 reporter Nicole Fierro was in El Paso County for Stauch’s preliminary hearing. You can scroll all the way down to follow the case from the beginning here:

Update: 3:49 p.m.: Judge said he will share his ruling on Sept 23rd at 9 am. Judge took pages of notes. The law requires he makes certain findings before making a decision and this is a serious case with serious charges. Bond status for Leticia will not change, “at least for now” according to the judge.

Update: 2:59 p.m.: Prosecution rests. Defense doesn’t have evidence to present.

Update: 2:48 p.m.: Cohen said Leticia Stauch appeared to be lying to authorities during search and investigation. He said Stauch has a history of fabricating things in the past.

Update: 2:41 p.m.: Cohen said Gannon was most likely killed in his bedroom based on all of the blood evidence.

Update: 2:40 p.m.: Cohen reviews neighbor’s surveillance footage of Leticia and Gannon going into a red pick-up truck. Cohen said Gannon does not appear to be injured when he enters.

Update: 2:36 p.m.: Cohen said pictures of Gannon in his bed were taken when only Gannon and Leticia were in the home.

Update: 2:32 p.m.: Cohen said he found no evidence that pointed to Al Stauch being involved in Gannon Stauch disappearance. Al is Gannon’s dad. He was in Oklahoma for training. Cohen found no evidence that pointed to Gannon’s biological mother, Landen Hiott, being involved in his disappearance or murder.

Update: 2:30 p.m.: FBI Special Agent Andrew Cohen takes the stand. He’s the lead case agent.

Update: 2:27 p.m.: Defense brings up Hubbell’s concern that he contaminated the room when he touched a carpet with ungloved hands. He noticed it was “Crunchy” and had them pull it up. Hubbell said he wanted to set an example for his team, and own up to the mistake.

Update: 2:14 p.m.: Defense is now asking Hubbell questions. He confirmed there was three DNA profiles found on swabs of gun: two males and one female.

Update 2:13 p.m.: Hubbell said Florida sent back three projectiles (bullets) — one from the body’s head, two from the pillow. Examiner said they were consistent with the bullets that would come from the handgun found in the Stauch house master bedroom.

Update: 2:10 p.m.: Investigators show a picture of a gun found in the master bedroom. Hubbell found the gun on top of the dresser. The 9mm handgun had Leticia’s DNA on it, and a major portion of the DNA on the trigger belonged to Leticia.

Update: 1:59 p.m.: Hubbell said “blue-star” blood testing showed a trail from Gannon’s room to the garage, goes through storage room and stairs along the way.

Update: 1:55 p.m.: Another picture shows the corner of the mattress in Gannon’s room. Stain on the mattress tested positive for blood. Blood found on an outlet next to Gannon’s bed matched Gannon’s DNA.

Update: 1:52 p.m.: Investigators said they pulled out the carpet because there was a stain that soaked through down to the concrete. Hubbell said a sample of the stain was identified as Gannon’s blood. Hubbell said it was apparent the carpet had been cleaned, but the padding underneath the carpet and concrete were not.

Update: 1:47 p.m.: Hubbell said they searched for blood with a “blue-star” solution that will light up right away when blood mixes with chemical in low light conditions. In photo’s of Gannon’s room, detectives marked blood spatter on the borders.

Update: 1:42 p.m.: On Feb. 3, 2020, detectives went back to search the home again. They had reason to believe there was foul play and their mission was to look for blood evidence.

Update: 1:36 p.m.: Investigators compared the pictures of Gannon in his bed to the evidence in the suitcase in Florida. Hubbell said the bedding matches, and appears to be the same bedding that the body was found wrapped in.

Update: 1:26 p.m.: State calls fifth witness, Sgt. Roasrio Hubbell with El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Pictures from Leticia’s phone show Gannon in his bed on January 27 at 8 a.m. Hubbell said he believes Gannon is alive in the pictures.

Update: 12 p.m.: Breaking for lunch now, back at 1:20 pm.

Update: 11:57 a.m.: Sarkisian said the board appeared to have blood on it. Looks like it in the evidence picture we are seeing too. Test confirmed it was Gannon’s blood.

Update: 11:54 a.m.: We are now seeing pictures from that s-curve. K-9 alerted to this area. Sarkisian checked barbed wire and noticed a flat, plywood, board that had snow on top of it. Didn’t appear to be moved.

Update: 11:48 a.m.: On Perry Park Road, there is an “s-curve” in the road and crews focused a search there.

Update: 11:43 a.m.: Sarkisian said used all of the search tools they had, from sonar to horses and prodding poles. Some days they had hundreds of searches. Snow was pretty thick at the time.

Update: 11:39 a.m.: WITNESS FOUR: Deputy John Sarkisian with El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. He was asked to run command for the search efforts for Gannon.

Update: 11:37 a.m.: Sgt. went back on January 29th to execute a search warrant. Found a dry, red liquid substance on one of the stairs leading to garage and on the garage floor.

Update: 11:36 a.m.: #LeteciaStauch attorney is now asking the Sgt. questions. He asked if he saw a suitcase in the car. Sgt. said he doesn’t know if there was a suitcase in there, specifically, he didn’t look in a suitcase.

Update: 11:31 a.m.: Sgt. is now answering questions about search. Nothing indicated to him at the time that something violent would have occurred. He was searching for a boy.

Update: 11:22 a.m.: In Gannon’s bedroom Letecia talks about how he is “very fashion.” She talks about how Gannon has “tons of clothes.” She says she’s not the person that talks to Gannon’s friends and parents. She says Al, Gannon’s father, is the one that says yes and no to playdates.

Update: 11:13 a.m.: Sgt. Yunkin starts going through a car in the garage. Letecia comes in there says he’s never hid in the car before. We see what looks like a suitcase in the car captured on body worn camera.

Update: 11:12 a.m.: On body worn camera you hear her saying Gannon said he was going to his friends house to play video games. She says something about cleaning a mess he made on the carpet downstairs.

Update: 11:09 a.m.: We are hearing and seeing #LeteciaStauch on police body worn camera during the search. We hear her consenting to the search.

Update: 11:07 a.m.: Sgt. Younkin got consent and searched the home on night of reported runaway. Searched, closets attached garage and storage room. Made contact with Letecia on two occasions during search: first, in attached garage and second, lower level of residence. Had body worn camera.

Update: 11:05 a.m.: WITNESS 3: Sgt. Patrick Younkin with El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Was on Duty and responded to a call for a runaway juvenile January 27th, 2020. Runaways are given a non-urgent priority, they were busy that night.

Update: 11:01 a.m.: Receipt from stay at Candlewood Suites on Feb 4th has Letecia’s name on it. Shows her rewards program log-in, she was a platinum member. Shows departure data was Feb 4th 2020, only staying a few hours before heading to Orlando and then South Carolina.

Update: 10:59 a.m.: Clark says only two people involved in this investigation are #LeteciaStauch and her daughter Harley Hunt.

Update: 10:58 a.m.: Feb 4th 2020 – map focuses on GPS and phone activity in Pensacola, FL. Map shows car at Candlewood suites were defendant rented a room. At 4:15 am, van is tracked less than two miles from bridge where body was found. Hotel is approximately 3.3 miles from where the body was found

Update: 10:56 a.m.: Just after midnight on Feb 4th, 2020 they arrive in Pensacola, Florida. The night before, a reservation was made for the hotel.

Update: 10:55 a.m.: Clark says on this trip of more than 1,000 miles, #LeteciaStauch daughter Harley accompanied her in the van. Surveillance video along the route shows both Letecia and her daughter on that trip. Credit card data, new phone and toll road data shows them on the trip as well.

Update: 10:54 a.m.: Saturday, #LeteciaStauch rents a van from location by Garden of the Gods early morning. Early afternoon, defendant purchases a Verizon cell phone at a Walmart. Map shows defendant traveling from Colorado Springs, to Florida, to South Carolina.

Update: 10:48 a.m.: At this point, #LeteciaStauch had family fly into town. Her mother, stepbrother and stepsister came as well as her aunt who let her use her rental cars while the sheriff’s office seized Letecia’s car and phone.

Update: 10:46 a.m.: BACK FROM BREAK: Clark says on Friday, January 31st, GPS tracker shows Letecia in a rental car. She does a news interview.

Update: 10:40 a.m.: Court took first break of the day. @4thJudicialDA Michael Allen will do an interview after the judge has made his ruling for these proceedings, not before that. We are about to resume and I will continue to live tweet.

Update: 10:25 a.m.: Next day, Wednesday, Sheriff’s office takes Letecia’s phone and car. They also take Harley’s car. Letecia’s aunt flew into town Thursday and rented a car. Letecia had access to the car. Teams were watching Letecia’s movements.

Update: 10:22 a.m.: Records from Harley’s phone show she was not at Massage Envy when Letecia’s car parked. Around Midnight, Harley’s picks Letecia up in her car. Letecia’s car is left in the parking lot overnight as they go home.

Update: 10:17 a.m.: For 55 minutes after connecting to Wifi, she connects with her daughter Harley.

Update: 10:16 a.m.: Maps show her path from Falcon out east, heading west to county line road in Palmer Lake area. This whole time, about 2 hours, her phone is in airplane mode. At 9:51 pm, her phone connects to WiFi at Hilton hotel in Briargate and then to a Starbucks Wifi at Briargate Shops.

Update: 10:12 a.m.: GPS location shows her driving patterns after she left airport around 7 pm. She put her phone on airplane mode once she was in Falcon area around 7:30. After 9 pm shows her in Douglas County, phone still in airplane mode.

Update: 10:04 a.m.: Location data shows there was 30 minute pause in traveling in the Falcon area while the phone went into airplane mode. Crews ended up searching there and didn’t find anything of evidentiary value.

Update: 10:02 a.m.: Cell phone data shows she put her phone into airplane mode at 7:26 pm.

Update: 10 a.m.: Clark says same day at 7pm, defendant returns rental car to airport, gets in her WV Tiguan.

Update: 9:58 a.m.: Clark says she picks up Al in rental car and heads back to their home.

Update: 9:57 a.m.: Clark says surveillance video shows #leteciastauch going to a car rental kiosk at the airport that morning at 8:41 am. Internet searches from 7:17 look for cheap rental cars in Colorado Springs. She picks up a white Kia Rio.

Update: 9:55 a.m.: Clark talks about on January 28th, a neighbor’s surveillance shows the Volkswagen Tiguan leaving the home. This was the footage I exclusively shared with you first back in 2020. A car tracker also shows the car heading to the airport after leaving the home at 8:13 am.

Update: 9:50 a.m.: Pulling up a number of exhibits showing maps tracking location of VW Tiguan on January 28th, 2020, #Leteciastauch registered vehicle locations. Hearing we will see a hotel receipt too.

Update: 9:48 a.m.: Clark has experience in investigating cell phone information and GPS trackers. He was granted to go work with sheriff’s office and FBI in February 2020 to support with this case.

Update: 9:46 a.m.: WITNESS TWO: Kevin Clark, employed with @4thJudicialDA. At time of Gannon’s disappearance, worked for CSPD.

Update: 9:44 a.m.: Based on Yoder’s experience, he says he would guess the body may have been in suitcase over a month before found.

Update: 9:43 a.m.: Autopsy says cause of death was gunshot wound and blunt trauma to the head.

Update: 9:41 a.m.: Yoder said the doctor conducting the autopsy found the gunshot wound itself could have been fatal. Did not determine if the gunshot and blunt force trauma was before or after death.

Update: 9:35 a.m.: We are seeing a picture of a pillow and blankets found in the suitcase along with the body. There are little blue sharks on them.

Update: 9:30 a.m.: Family members are embracing one another and bowing their heads to avoid looking at the screen right now as court views pictures of the suitcase body was found in under Florida bridge.

Update: 9:28 a.m.: First exhibit brought up on the screen is the missing flyer for #GannonStauch. Loved ones are wiping tears from their eyes right now hearing what this witness saw and seeing his picture.

Update: 9:27 a.m.: No mask can hide the pain in Gannon’s biological family’s eyes right now hearing this.

Update: 9:25 a.m.: TRIGGER WARNING: Yoder tells court he observed injuries to the body: fractured skull, gunshot wound in lower left jaw, what looked like stab wounds to left chest, right back. Cuts on hands and arms consistent with defensive wounds. Autopsy report says 18 sharp force injuries.

Update: 9:20 a.m.: Yoder said they went on the missing persons database and saw pictures of Gannon. Noticed similar dental, height and weight features.

Update: 9:18 a.m.: Yoder said clothes on the body lead them to identify it as a male, they guessed it was someone 9 to 14-years-old. Said there was an imprint in the ground consistent with someone dropping the suitcase off of the bridge by an emergency pull-off area.

Update: 9:14 a.m.: Yoder said a highway inspector found the suitcase while inspecting the Escambia River bridge. The inspector opened the suitcase and found a body wrapped in blankets. Yoder said the body appeared to be a small child.

Update: 9:12 a.m.: Yoder is a Sgt. with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s office. Got call and responded to the discovery of a body under the Highway 90 bridge in a suitcase on March 17th.

Update: 9:10 a.m.: Prosecution calling up the first witness Jason Yoder. They are going to be showing a lot of pictures for evidence they said.

Update: 9:07 a.m.: Judge heard arguments from both sides on this. He says he thinks #LeteciaStauch waived her “presence” at the proceedings but she has clearly said she does not want to waive the proceedings themselves. Judge wants to move on with presenting the evidence.

Update: 9:05 a.m.: DA @4thJudicialDA said #LeteciaStauch not showing up simply because she doesn’t want to be here makes it harder for witnesses to point to her and say she did it. He’s asking that we just set a trial date because of this and waive this hearing.

Update: 9 a.m.: #LeteciaStauch says she understands and does not want to be here in person. Judge says he’s going to make her appear on webex again tomorrow to tell him if she changes her mind and wants to come. She immediately left the room after telling the judge she understands.

Update: 8:55 a.m.: “I have confidence in my defense counsel” – #LeteciaStauch said as she acknowledges that she’s waiving the right to be there in person. Judge is explaining that he will be reviewing the evidence in this case and it could have an impact in whether or not she will be granted bond.

Update: 8:50 a.m.: #LeteciaStauch just appeared via webex in cell.

“Made it in the courtroom, Gannon’s biological family is here,” shared Fierro at 8:45 a.m.

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