(NEW YORK) — The mother of Gannon Stauch, an 11-year-old Colorado boy who has been missing for nearly a month, opened up about her son’s disappearance, the rumors that have followed, and the desperation she feels for him to be home.
In a sit-down interview with ABC News Thursday, Landen Hiott said that while she has tried to stay hopeful, at times she finds the emotions too much to bear.
“You have anger. You have so many feelings. I have so many feelings I’ve never felt before,” she said.
Hiott said the circumstances of the investigation and the bad weather have made it even more difficult.
“The more time that goes by, if he did wander off, whatever happened, how can you … it’s snowing and you have them looking in snow and sifting through snow, you can’t help but have bad thoughts come in,” she said.
Gannon was reported missing on Jan. 27 by his stepmother, Letecia Stauch, who told authorities he was last seen at home between 3:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m., according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department. He was initially reported as a runaway, but on Jan. 30 his disappearance was changed to a missing/endangered persons case. Since then, there have been few clues as to what happened.
A neighbor says footage captured by his security camera the day Gannon went missing showed Gannon’s stepmother driving away with the boy in the morning, and returning hours later alone. Authorities have said they are aware of the footage and do not dispute the neighbor’s description, but describe it only as “one piece in a very, very, very large puzzle.”
Backlash against Letecia Stauch was swift and rampant, so much so that she had to respond to online rumors. She denied having anything to do with Gannon’s disappearance.
Hiott did not comment on the footage or Stauch, but said that “when you’re trying to hold it together and you hear those stories, you hear people talk about it, it’s hard to hold it in sometimes.”
She said she maintains restraint only because she doesn’t want to hinder the investigation and have “another day added to me not seeing my boy.”
Hiott lives in South Carolina, but traveled to Colorado immediately after getting a call that Gannon was missing.
She said she is confident her son would never run away.
“100% without a shadow of doubt, my boy would not run away,” Hiott said. She also resents the notion that he may have somehow brought this on himself.
“For it to be said that he has behavioral issues, and it to be blamed on him, that’s what makes me sick about this. … It is not Gannon’s fault. He is a child,” she said.
Hiott gets through each day by waiting for the next one, hoping for new information that brings her son home.
“This is the longest time I have not heard his voice. The only thing I can do is keep playing videos back and forth,” she said through sobs.
When her two other children — an 8-year-old and 18-month-old — ask where Gannon is, she wishes she could have answer.
“‘Where’s Bubba? Is he coming home?'” she said her kids have asked her. “Only thing I can say is, ‘I hope so.'”
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