HORRY COUNTY, S.C. — The woman accused of murdering her young stepson, who has been missing from Colorado Springs for five weeks, had her first court 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.
Few details have been released in the case, but crews over the last few weeks have been searching in the same general area of southern Douglas County as well as northern El Paso County .
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.
This story was originally published by Stephanie Butzer at KMGH.