Woman arrested in death of 7-year-old boy found dead inside Denver storage shed

Boy, 7, believed to be woman's son
Posted at 10:29 AM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-06 13:49:12-05

DENVER – A woman believed to be the mother of a missing boy who was found dead inside of a storage unit on Dec. 23 has been arrested in relation to the boy's death.

Denver police said the department was contacted by the Aurora Police Department about the missing 7-year-old boy on Dec. 23 and that officers were led to a storage unit in the 5000 block of E. Evans. Ave., where they discovered the boy dead inside.

Police said Elisha A. Pankey, 43, turned herself into the Denver Police Department on Wednesday and that she is being held for investigation on a child abuse resulting in death charge. Court records show Pankey is scheduled to make her first appearance in the case on Thursday afternoon.

Police say they believed Pankey is the deceased boy’s mother. Police are looking into the possibility that the boy, Caden McWilliams, could have been killed as early as May. The Denver Medical Examiner will make a final determination as to the time and manner of death.

The probable cause statement in the case was sealed by a judge, according to court records, so further details about the case were not immediately available on Thursday.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding Pankey or Caden to contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. Police said the investigation was ongoing Thursday and did not release further information.

Caden was 'the sweetest boy'

The 7-year-old boy attended Ellis Elementary School at 1651 South Dahlia Street. The school released a statement Thursday, calling Caden MCWilliams "the sweetest boy."

Read the entire statement below:

This is tragic loss for the entire Ellis Elementary School community. Caden McWilliams was the sweetest boy. He stood out from others from the moment he walked through the school doors every morning with a huge smile on his face. His smile and eyes showed how kind and sweet he was at the core. Other students wanted to be his friend and looked to Caden for what to do next. Caden was a model student who was not afraid to do the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do. He worked hard and did well academically. He was always positive, caring and lived the Ellis core value of Integrity. During recess, Caden would always notice friends who needed someone to play with and he would go to them. He was a truly kind and caring little boy who loved being at school with his teachers and his friends.

Suspect arrested in drug case

Court records also show that Pankey was arrested Dec. 22 and formally charged Dec. 28 with a felony drug possession count and a drug paraphernalia possession count. She posted a $1,000 personal recognizance bond on Dec. 24.

Aurora police are being tight-lipped on additional details of the December arrest. However, records in that case show Aurora police were investigating a "crime scene for a missing child" on Dec. 21 at an unknown location when an officer was assigned to pick up medication for Pankey inside a nightstand at an Extended Stay Hotel located at 14095 East Evans Avenue.

The officer assigned to the task was told to pick up the medication and deliver it to Pankey, who was staying at a nearby La Quinta Inn, according to an arrest affidavit.

However, when the officer arrived at the room inside the Extended Stay Hotel, he discovered .4 grams of heroin inside one of two prescription bottles with the suspect's name on them, the affidavit read.

Police say there was no actual medication inside the bottles.

After the heroin was found, police executed a search warrant inside the Extended Stay Hotel room and arrested Pankey at the La Quinta, according to the documents.

Pankey was scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 11 in the case.

Timeline of events

May - Dec. 2018 — Police believe 7-year-old Caden McWilliams was killed during this time.

Dec. 21, 2018 — An Aurora officer discovers heroin inside a hotel room belonging to Pankey.

Dec. 22, 2018 — Pankey is arrested at an Aurora hotel for felony drug possession amid a missing child investigation. She is booked into the Arapahoe County Jail.

Dec. 23, 2018 — The body of Caden, Pankey’s missing 7-year-old son, is discovered inside of a Denver storage unit.

Dec. 24, 2018 — Pankey is released from Arapahoe County Jail after posting a $1,000 personal recognizance bond in the drug possession case.

Dec. 28, 2018 — Pankey is formally charged with a felony drug possession count and a drug paraphernalia possession count.

Jan. 2, 2019 — Pankey turns herself into the Denver Police Department on a charge of child abuse resulting in death.

Jan. 3, 2019 — The suspect makes her first court appearance in connection with the child abuse resulting in death case.