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Candlelight vigil held as search for missing Springs boy continues

Posted at 7:15 PM, Feb 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-09 00:28:32-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Gannon Stauch has been missing for more than a week, and as the El Paso County Sheriff's Office continues its investigation and search for the missing 11-year-old boy, community members gathered Saturday to show their support for the family and keeping up the hope that Gannon will return soon.

Neighbors and members of the public held the vigil at a field in Gannon's Lorson Ranch neighborhood Saturday evening. Organizers handed out more blue ribbons and lights for people to display during the vigil. Several people were in attendance.

Many of those attending the vigil have children, or siblings Gannon's age.

"I know that if it was my son, I would want him to know that he wasn't forgotten," said Kelly Ratai, who was part of the search effort early on.

When asked about the change from a "missing person" investigation to one involving an "endangered child," Ratai said, "none of us know the circumstances. The details surrounding them. So we need to stay focused. the focus is on Gannon and bringing him home."

"If something like this happened with my sister, I don't know what I would do," said Colorado Springs resident Elisa Chaboya.

"I think we're all kind of feeling like the heaviness of all of this and the sadness, but we're all coming together and really showing our support with the blue lights and coming to these events, and just helping out in any way that we can," said Alex Pace, a neighborhood volunteer who talked to Denver7's newspartner, KOAA-TV.

Speaking for the family, former Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman told Denver7, "There's a beautiful moon tonight, lighting up this snow-covered landscape, and I hope it provides the light that we need to find Gannon, and bring him home safely."

Meanwhile, investigators were out again the Lorson Ranch area Saturday. Deputies re-canvassed Gannon's neighborhood and spoke with neighbors, according to a statement from the sheriff's office. Search efforts to find Gannon has been ongoing since he was reported missing. On Thursday, crews used specialized equipment to search bodies of water near his neighborhood.

The 11-year-old boy was last seen Monday, Jan. 27, and reported missing by his stepmother later in the evening. He was initially reported as a runaway, but authorities upgraded his case days later to a missing and endangered investigation based upon the amount of time he had been missing and his medication needs. This brought in additional resources, including help from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On Monday, Roderrick Drayton, a neighbor of the Stauch family, shared surveillance video from his home that captured footage of what he says shows Ganon and his stepmother, Leticia Stauch, getting into a red truck in the driveway of their Colorado Springs home on Monday, Jan. 27 – the day the boy went missing. The video later, Drayton said, shows the truck returning hours later but with only the stepmother appearing to get out.

ABC News reported Tuesday that a spokesperson for the sheriff's office did not dispute Drayton's account of what the video showed but said it was just a piece in the investigation.

Drayton said he shared the video with Gannon's father, Albert Stauch, and that the father broke down crying and said he told Drayton that "she lied," in reference to Leticia's statements to police.

Leticia Stauch reported the boy missing just before 7 p.m. on Jan. 27, and told police at the time that she had last seen him between 3:15 and 4 p.m. that day when he left to play at a friend's house down the street.

Gannon's biological parents released a video statement Wednesday in which they pleaded for credible leads in the case.

"If you're too afraid because you know something — a kid just doesn't disappear, and no one sees him. It's not how this works," Gannon's mother, Landen Hiott, said. "So, if you have anything that's credible — if you're afraid, don't worry about it. Imagine my son, how afraid he is. Imagine how afraid Gannon is."

El Paso County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Sgt. Deborah Mynatt reiterated that the sheriff's office only wanted people to submit credible tips, so they don't have to spend time investigating what she called "speculation" and "theories" posted in social media groups.

Anyone with tips is asked to call the sheriff's office at 719-520-6666 to report them.