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Neighbor hands over key piece of evidence in case of missing boy

Posted at 4:55 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 18:55:14-05

The El Paso County (Colorado) Sheriff's Office and crime lab techs were at the Stauch house on Monday collecting evidence in the disappearance of 11-year-old Gannon Stauch. A neighbor said he turned over a "key piece of evidence" to investigators. We are not revealing what information he provided as the release may compromise the investigation.

There is no word on whether investigators had a search warrant or if there was something specific they were focusing on. No further information about the activity at the house has been released by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

During an interview at the Sheriff's Office on Tuesday afternoon, Sgt. Deborah Mynatt refused to answer questions about what was seen in the video. She repeated concerns releasing the video to the public could compromise the investigation. She is asking for anyone in the area to provide footage to investigators.

The investigation so far

Gannon has now been missing for a week since his stepmother said he left their home in the Lorson Ranch neighborhood off of Marksheffel Rd in Security, Colorado. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office said Letecia Stauch told authorities he was headed to a friend's house down the street. He was last seen wearing a blue jacket and jeans. He is 4'9" and weighs 90 pounds.

Authorities were treating Gannon as a runaway until Thursday when the status changed to Missing and Endangered based upon the length of time and medications he needs. The change also brings in additional resources from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children , the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other agencies.

Investigators have received more than 140 tips in this case. They are searching specific areas based on information gathered so far.

As rumors have run rampant on social media, authorities have asked people to not take any stock in or share this false information that could cause problems in the investigation as people call in tips based on bad information.

Parents plea for help

Al Stauch, Gannon's father, explained he was out of town over the weekend for training with the National Guard. He says his wife knew something was wrong when Gannon did not come home after several hours.

"We kind of do the street light rule. When the street lights come on or it gets dark, they better be home and it was like maybe 30 minutes past that. Started to worry at that point. Then I started texting all the friends that we know he goes to and nobody had seen him," Stauch said.

Gannon Stauch

He said Gannon didn't let them know what friend's house he was going to in the neighborhood and that this was "unlike him so that's why we're obviously really concerned." Eventually, the police were called. "Once we went through that whole checklist it's like, you know, where could he be?" Stauch said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office tip line at (719) 520-6666 or at tips@elpasoco.com.

Gannon's parents, who are divorced, came together at the press conference to ask for continued assistance in bringing their son home safe.

"It's so hard just to think why is this happening to him. Gannon, bubba, little man, mommy's hero, wherever you're at, mommy and daddy's here and we're begging and pleading for you to come home," Gannon's mother Landen Hiott said. She traveled from Oklahoma to beg for help from the public. "I'm begging bring my baby home. My kid deserves to come home. My kid has a purpose. My kid has a life. I'm begging, I'm pleading, if anybody has any type of lead put yourself in my situation, ask yourself what would you do?"

Al Stauch thanked the community for the overwhelming support. "I came out my front door, I think it was Tuesday, and there were 300 people out there searching my neighborhood. They blew me away. Thank you everyone," he said. "Gannon. Daddy loves you so much. Please come home."

Neighbors chalk outside Lorson Ranch as Stauch search continues

A community comes together

People across the community have spent time searching the area around the family's home. Now, the Sheriff's Office is accepting applications for volunteers to make this a better coordinated process. A link to apply is available on the sheriff's office website .

The entrance to the Lorson Ranch neighborhood is decorated with blue lights and the words "Pray for Gannon" in huge letters. Blue was chosen as it is Gannon's favorite color. Dozens of families decorated the entrance to the neighborhood using chalk for kids to express their emotions during the tough time. The event served as a way for kids to have some sort of outlet, as many of them go to the same school as Gannon.

"I love him and I miss him, and that I want him to come home and be safe," Chloe Peterson, 9, said of her neighbor Gannon. "He's an awesome little kid and he's handsome, and he is my best friend." "Gannon is a good friend of ours...he's out playing basketball in my front yard on a daily basis." Cambra Peterson said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office tip line at (719) 520-6666 or at tips@elpasoco.com.

As mentioned, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is assisting in this case. Learn more about all 73 children from Colorado currently being sought with the help of the center, click here .

This article was written by KOAA staff.