EL PASO COUNTY — People in the Lorson Ranch community where 11-year-old Gannon Stauch lived are devastated and heartbroken. Their hope, like all of us, that Gannon was coming home. On Monday, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office provided an update on Gannon and announced an arrest was made in his disappearance.
The sheriff's office said Letecia Stauch, Gannon's stepmother, was taken into custody in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They are waiting to extradite her to Colorado for the following charges: first-degree murder by a person in the position of trust, child abuse resulting in death, tampering with a deceased body and tampering with physical evidence.
Many people showed up at the entrance to Lorson Ranch with Monday's update where a memorial for Gannon was setup, leaving candles, flowers, stuffed animals, and other tokens of love for the little boy.
"This was a kid that was very frequent out front. Being a kid, very playful, very funny," Jeff Peterson said.
It's been exactly five weeks since Gannon was first reported missing and people like Jeff Peterson have been holding on to hope since then.
"We really felt like Gannon was coming home," he said.
But with the arrest of Gannon's stepmother Jeff Peterson said, "He's not coming home. This is a bad thing, really bad thing."
Jeff Peterson got the update on Gannon when he was at work and then called his wife, Cambra Peterson. She said, "I immediately thought we finally have some answers and I know that there's more answers coming because I believe this is just the beginning to what we've all been waiting for finally."
The Petersons said they've grown close to the Stauch family since moving to Lorson Ranch last year. On Monday, Cambra reached out to Gannon's dad, Al Stauch.
"I told him that I loved him and that we were thinking of him. I didn't know what else to say other than that I hope he knows he is loved," she said.
That's what fellow neighbor Ashley Reppart wants Gannon's loved ones to feel as well. She and her family stopped by Gannon's memorial to pay their respects.
"Whatever we could do just to like show them that we're thinking of them and they're in our thoughts and prayers," Reppart said.
This unthinkable tragedy, some say, has opened the eyes of people in this community.
"I will be a better parent. I will be more attentive to my neighbors. I'll be more attentive. I'll be a better neighbor because of this and I will hold my kids tighter...Gannon I love you. Your family loves you. Your community loves you."
Reppart said, "His mom said today we don't want him to be forgotten and he's never going to be forgotten. He will live on."
Neighbors say there are plans to put up a new sign near the Lorson Ranch entrance with the words "Pray for Gannon." That sign will be installed on Tuesday. It will be a wooden sign and lit up with blue lights - Gannon's favorite color.