Search continues for 11-year-old Colorado boy who has been missing for 2 weeks
EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - Monday marks two weeks since an 11-year-old boy was last seen.
Gannon Stauch has not been seen since Jan. 27. Initially listed as a runaway, the status was upgraded to missing-endangered on Jan. 30, the third full day to pass without sign of the boy. Law enforcement continues to call it a missing persons case and has neither said if they suspect foul play or named any suspects.
Searchers both law enforcement and civilian have numbered in the hundreds.
"It's everyone saying, 'You know, we believe something can be done,' and we're all here to do it," said John Wilson, a drone pilot and member of Gannon's church, who says he's been recording aerial footage "24/7" in hopes of finding the child.
Lorson Ranch, the neighborhood southeast of the Colorado Springs Airport where Gannon calls home, is covered in blue lights and blue ribbons as families cling to hope he'll return.
“Gannon’s favorite color is blue, and so we’re turning the neighborhood blue. Just kind of a, you know, spiritual beacon to come back to us. To see we all care, we’re all thinking about you. We all want to see you again," Wilson said.
Not a criminal investigation
The Colorado Springs Police Department Metro Crime Lab made another appearance at the Stauch home on the afternoon of Feb. 5, this time accompanied by 4th Judicial District Attorney Dan May.
The sight of the region's leading prosecutor at the missing boy's home prompted questions over the status of the case. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office maintained the case was still a missing-endangered case and not a criminal investigation.
"DA May being in Stauch home does not change the ongoing efforts in the search for Gannon," the sheriff's office wrote on Twitter. "There are no new updates to report at this time. Our priority remains bringing Gannon home safely to his parents and the investigation continues."
The sheriff’s office says it’s likely the crime lab will be back at the house for the next few days.
Addressing the rumor mill
The search for Gannon has made national headlines and brought people across the country into Facebook groups dedicated to both discussion and amateur sleuthing.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office has addressed the amount of speculation in the case multiple times, explaining that while it may be well-intentioned, baseless rumors are slowing down the investigation.
“Speculation is one thing, and theories and these kinds of ideas is one thing for someone to have. When they provide that to the sheriff’s office, we take it seriously,” Mynatt said in an interview Tuesday. “So any information to any law enforcement agency, if you have a tip or a lead, we have to vet each of those, we have to ensure that it is factual, and it takes time away from our detectives to try to figure out if this is a good lead or if it’s not.”
The sheriff's office released a more strongly-worded statement later that night.
"The misinformation that is being spread on social media is a hindrance to this investigation and adds additional burden to the family. Any information that is prematurely released and is not directly from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office is not a credible source. Any pertinent information on this case will be put out as the investigation allows."
The sheriff's office took direct aim at social media rumors following May's appearance at the home Wednesday.
"Contrary to rumors surfacing on social media, there have been no arrests in the Gannon Stauch case, and there will be no press conference today. Credible information regarding this case will only be released from EPSO as the investigation allows," the office wrote on Twitter.
The sheriff’s office does encourage the public to come forward if they believe they saw or heard something that could be relevant to the case.
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