FBI agents and local law enforcement officers returned Friday to the area in southern Douglas County where they’ve been searching for a missing 11-year-old Colorado Springs boy.
The search for Gannon Stauch on private property north of Palmer Lake along Colorado 105 began Wednesday and, according to El Paso County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby, could continue through the weekend.
Kirby has not said why the search moved from Gannon’s southeast Colorado Springs Lorson Ranch neighborhood to the wooded, ranchland about 45 miles to the north.
Gannon was last seen by his stepmother, Letecia Stauch, between 3 and 4 p.m. on Jan. 27 when he left his home to walk to a friend’s house. It is unknown if he arrived at the friend’s house and, initially, he was considered a runaway.
That changed two days later when the Sheriff’s Office referred to him as a “missing endangered child.” At the news conference, Gannon’s father, Albert Stauch, and his mother, Landen Hiott, who had flown in from her home in South Carolina, pleaded for him to return home and for anyone with information to come forward.
Since then, Kirby said the Sheriff’s Office has received 516 tips. Little else has been revealed in news releases that mostly list the agencies involved in the search and caution against spreading rumors on social media.
Several groups have sprung up on Facebook that range from organizing volunteer searches to serving as a sounding board for speculation about what has happened to the boy.
Letecia Stauch has given at least two interviews in which she has claimed sheriff’s investigators improperly questioned her and her 17-year-old daughter and that she has been bullied and threatened online and in person. Sheriff’s officials have declined to comment on her allegations.
On Friday, an FBI Evidence Response Team vehicle was parked along Colorado 105 in the driveway leading to the gate of a development called Sierra Pines about a half mile north of the El Paso County line.
Volunteers, some on horseback, and police dogs spread out over the 35-acre search area covered with snow.
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and search and rescue vehicles from both counties were parked at a staging area for the searchers on Friday along the road.