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Mother of 7-year-old found dead in Denver storage unit formally charged

Posted at 10:09 AM, Jan 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-07 12:22:00-05

DENVER — The mother of a 7-year-old found dead in a storage unit in Denver was formally charged with child abuse resulting in death and abuse of a corpse Monday morning.

Elisha A. Pankey, 43, was charged in connection to the death of her 7-year-old son Caden McWilliams. The boy's body was found in a storage unit on the 5000 block of E. Evans Avenue in Denver on Dec. 23. Pankey turned herself into the Denver Police Department on Wednesday.

Police said the boy could have been killed or died as early as May.

The child abuse charge is a second-degree felony and the abuse of a corpse is a misdemeanor.

The charges were filed Monday morning and announced by Denver District Attorney Beth McCann.

“Thanks to the tenacious work by both the Aurora and Denver Police Departments, we now know that young Caden was not only missing for several months, he was no longer alive,” McCann said. “This is a terrible tragedy for the community. While this case will take time to resolve, it will take even longer for our community to learn and heal.”

All records connected to this case are sealed for the time being.

Denver police continue to ask for the public’s help since this is an active investigation. Anyone with information regarding this matter is asked to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.

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.

Jan. 7, 2019 – Pankey is formally charged with child abuse resulting in death and abuse of a corpse in connection to this case.