HORRY COUNTY, South Carolina — The woman accused of murdering her young stepson, who has been missing from Colorado Springs for five weeks, had her first appearance in Horry County, South Carolina on Tuesday morning.
On a TV in the courtroom, Letecia Stauch was seen sitting in a fold-up chair in an orange jumpsuit. Her hands were handcuffed.
Horry County Judge Clifford L. Welsh told her there were very few defenses to her extradition back to Colorado. She waived the extradition, meaning she agreed to be transported to Colorado to face the charges against her in a Colorado court.
Welsh advised her not to say too much based on her charges. She told Welsh that she did not have an attorney yet, but had asked a friend to find one for her. She was then dismissed.
Letecia Stauch was arrested Monday morning in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on a murder charge in connection to the case of her missing stepson, 11-year-old Gannon Stauch. In addition to one charge of first-degree murder of a child under the age of 12 by a person in a position of trust, she was taken into custody on charges of second-degree child abuse resulting in death, tampering with a deceased human body and tampering with physical evidence, according to El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder.
The El Paso Sheriff's Office said Letecia Stauch had reported the boy missing on Jan. 27, telling police that he'd left on foot from their Colorado Springs home to go to a friend's house that afternoon and never returned. She called police around 7 p.m., according to the sheriff's office.
During a press conference Monday, El Paso Sheriff's Lt. Mitch Mahalko said authorities no longer believe Gannon Stauch is alive. Mahalko said they are not releasing information as to why they believe that, or why they have accused Letecia Stauch of first-degree murder.
During the investigation, a neighbor shared a home surveillance video that he said showed the boy and his stepmother leaving their home around 10:13 a.m. on Jan 27. At 2:19 p.m., the stepmother returned home, seemingly alone.
After hearing of the murder charge against Letecia Stauch, neighbors expressed their disbelief and sadness.
Neighbor Cambra Peterson said she will remember Gannon Stauch as a special boy who lit up a room and became close friends with her daughter, Chloe, 9.
"He had a glow about him," Peterson said. "His smile was radiant. He was always telling us jokes. Every time he came up, I gave him a big hug and welcomed him into my home."
Chloe said she misses her friend, but knows he is in heaven.
This is a developing story. Stay with Denver7 for updates.