Authorities announced Monday that Letecia Stauch, Gannon Stauch’s stepmother, had been charged with murder in connection to the 11-year-old boy’s disappearance.
Letecia also faces charges of child abuse resulting in death, tampering with a deceased body and tampering with physical evidence.
During a press conference midday Monday, investigators said they had developed new evidence that helped them crack the case. However, they did not provide details.
“We do not believe Gannon is alive,” said El Paso County Sheriff’s Det. Lt. Mitch Mahalko.
However, since Gannon’s body has not been found, questions remain as to how difficult it will be to prosecute the case.
Legal experts say it’s not uncommon to hold murder trials even when a body has not been found. They say circumstantial evidence could play a key role in the trial.
“It leaves open for arguments that — is he really dead? Is somebody else responsible? Those type of arguments gain a little more weight when there’s nobody to be found,” attorney David Jones said.
On circumstantial evidence, Jones said, “It could be the suspect’s own statement for a story that was told. Maybe they have some good physical evidence that she’s not telling the truth. That could move them in the direction for probable cause for homicide.”
The arrest affidavit in the case has been sealed. Investigators say they want the information kept secret since the case is far from over and their search for Gannon continues.