The father of murdered 11-year-old Gannon Staunch has hit out at the “evil” YouTuber who is selling autopsy photos of the boy’s severely beaten body to subscribers for $3.
On 9 May, 11-year-old Gannon Stauch’s stepmother Letecia Stauch was sentenced to life in prison for brutally stabbing and shooting him to death in a fit of “hatred and jealousy.” The little boy was reported missing in 2020 from his family’s home in Colorado two months before his body was found in a suitcase below a bridge in the Florida Panhandle.
Pictures of the state in which Gannon’s body was discovered were shown in court during Stauch’s trial but were not in view of the public, with the judge presiding over the case noting that the case was “most horrific I have ever seen.” Last month, a YouTuber known on the platform as “ZavGirl” said she obtained Gannon’s autopsy report, including graphic pictures, through a Freedom of Information Act request.
“This is about Gannon, this is not about anyone’s opinions, or if you view it as a scientific discussion. This is about respect for a little boy who tragically lost his life and did not deserve this,” the boy’s father Al Staunch said in an interview with NewsNation.
“For the family that survives Gannon, it is retraumatising. We just finished the trial two months ago and now we’re having to relive this stuff, we’re not able to put it behind us.
“The word I use to describe it is evil. The world got enough information from the trial to have every discussion they want to have. Why do we need to go and have freedom of information requests and pay for this kind of information and dishonor my son by putting these photos out there?”
The YouTuber, who has over 90,000 subscribers, charged individuals $3 to see the autopsy photos and other material on her Patreon account. District Attorney Michael Allen, the lead prosecutor in Gannon’s case, has branded her actions as “the lowest of human form.”
“Gannon deserved so much more in life from his stepmother and he certainly deserves dignity and respect in death and there’s nothing about what this YouTuber is doing that provides any dignity or respect to Gannon,“ Mr Allen told NewsNation.
The YouTuber has since issued a statement on her page and removed her Patreon account. She claimed that she shared the pictures because she “saw them as interesting and informative and [is] able to view it all in a more scientific detached way,” also alleging that “there are a lot of other people who are acting in bad faith and creating lies ...”
“I spent a lot of time and worked hard putting together a video lining up the coroner’s audio and descriptions along with the appropriate part of the photos she is describing and editing it together to try to make it as informative as possible for the viewer,” she added. “That is what I am charging for...”
Mr Allen said that Gannon’s family has been informed that photos of his abused body had been shared online, adding that it is unlikely they can be completely removed from the internet. He said that other YouTubers have also posted the photos, but it is unclear whether they’re also charging their subscribers to see them.
“The statement that [ZavGirl] put out about this incident sort of justifying, it just rings hollow,” Mr Allen said. “Scientifically, they could have used body diagrams that the autopsy also included instead of putting out Gannon’s just completely broken body that reflects the depravity and horror that he had to live through and suffered. It’s outright disgusting.”
Stauch reported her stepson Gannon missing in January 2020, while his father Al Stauch was on deployment with the National Guard.
During that time, Stauch’s account of what happened to Gannon continued to change. She first claimed Gannon had failed to return home after saying he was going to visit a friend. Then she said that a Mexican man raped her and abducted the boy. Prosecutors later learned that Gannon likely died on the same day Stauch contacted investigators, after finding his blood on her shoes and her DNA on a gun linked to Gannon’s death.
Gannon’s remains were found wrapped in bed covers and inside a suitcase in Florida. Prosecutors said during the trial that Stauch stabbed Gannon 18 times and then shot him in the head before driving across the country to dump the suitcase with his remains inside over the side of a bridge in Pensacola.
She cleaned up the blood-covered walls and mattress in Gannon’s bedroom, and moved his body to various locations to hide it before disposing of it “like garbage.”
Blood traces were also reportedly found on Stauch’s car and in the garage. A 9mm found in the home had Stauch’s DNA.
Before the remains were found, Stauch even went on TV to defend herself against accusations that was lying about Gannon’s whereabouts.
“I’m like, ‘What are you saying Gannon is death?’ Gannon is not dead, we are going to find Gannon. And that’s the main goal that we have, my family has,” Stauch insisted. “I would never ever hurt this child.”
During the trial proceedings, Stauch claimed that she was insane and that one of her other personalities killed her stepson, but the court dismissed that defence.
“There is no time during the minutes, hours and days following the murder where Letecia came out and wondered ‘Gee, why am I carrying a body around in my luggage?’ That just isn’t credible,” the judge said during Stauch’s May sentencing.