In January 2020, the gut-wrenching case of 11-year-old Gannon Stauch captivated the nation after the young boy went missing from his family home in Colorado.
Gannon’s stepmother had reported him missing, but her version of what happened shifted repeatedly over the two months of the desperate search.
Hundreds of volunteers tried to help, but they were unsuccessful in locating the little boy.
Ultimately, investigators found Gannon’s blood on the walls of his bedroom and his mattress, his DNA on a gun, and his body inside a suitcase dumped in Florida near the Panhandle. Tragic evidence showed that he had been stabbed and shot in the head, and that his body had been taken on a long journey through the US before it was discarded.
Letecia Stauch was arrested in March 2020 and charged with first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased human body, and tampering with physical evidence.
Her attorney has since argued that she developed dissociative identity disorder due to past physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, saying that she thought she was attacking demons on the day of Gannon’s death. However, prosecutors showed evidence that Ms Stauch searched for car rentals, sent a text to her daughter to buy cleaning supplies, and traveled with her daughter from Colorado to Pensacola near where Gannon’s body was later discovered.
On Tuesday, Gannon’s father Al Stauch addressed the court through tears, speaking of his son’s love for his mother and even Letecia. Ms Stauch sat between her attorneys at the defense table with her head down and her hair covering her face as her husband spoke.
District Attorney Michael Allen argued that Ms Stauch was aware and conscious of her actions on the day she killed Gannon, saying that she tried to hide her son’s body like “garbage”.
As the trial is ongoing and expected to take several weeks, Ms Stauch’s attorney urged jurors to put aside the impulse to make someone pay for such a brutal killing and keep an open mind due to her presumption of innocence.