Man charged in murder of 7-year-old son whose body was found encased in concrete

Courtesy of New York Post: [https://nypost.com/2019/05/31/man-charged-in-murder-of-7-year-old-son-whose-body-was-found-encased-in-concrete/]

May 31/2019

 

A Colorado man has been charged in connection with the murder of his 7-year-old son — whose body was found encased in concrete inside a dog crate, according to prosecutors and a new report.

Leland Pankey, 39, was charged Thursday with first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death and tampering with a deceased human in connection with the July death of Caden McWilliams — whose remains were not found until December, according to the Denver district attorney’s office and a report in the Denver Post.

In January, charges were filed against the boy’s mother, Elisha Pankey, 43, for child abuse and abuse of a corpse.

Elisha then told authorities about the abuse her husband allegedly inflicted on the boy, the Denver Post reported.

Prior to Caden’s death, the boy’s mom said, he was beaten and starved by his father, according to the local paper.

An affidavit obtained by the outlet revealed that the couple and their two kids moved into a room at the InTown Suites back in May. Leland had been caring for the kids while Elisha worked.

She was aware that her husband was abusing Caden and not feeding him — and revealed that on July 11, he allegedly held the boy by his neck high enough that his feet did not touch the floor, according to the affidavit.

Then he took the boy into the bathroom, and Elisha heard a “ruckus” before the man came out but left the boy inside, the document said.

Enlarge ImageElisha Pankey
Elisha PankeyMetro Denver Police

Leland then told his wife that they “can’t save both children” and that they “could take Caden to the mountains to bury him,” according to the affidavit.

The couple reportedly found Caden dead in the crate, where Leland had been keeping him, about three days later.

Months later, on Dec. 23, investigators were searching a storage unit and came across a large cement block inside a dog carrier, prosecutors said. The next day, the medical examiner’s office identified what appeared to be the remains of a child inside.

About two months after that, an autopsy report concluded that the body was Caden’s — and he had died of homicide by undetermined means, and child maltreatment was a significant factor, the DA’s office said.

Leland was already in custody on unrelated charges, including domestic violence against his wife, since authorities launched their investigation, the paper reported.

“What began as a domestic violence call to the Aurora Police Department rapidly evolved into a homicide investigation because responding officers cared enough to ensure the involved children were safe,” District Attorney Beth McCann said in a statement. “We have now implicated both parents in this truly horrific crime.”

“This case has been painstaking and painful for all involved and it has horrified the public conscience as it progressed,” she added. “The one thing that I am happy to report is that Caden’s younger sister is safe and adjusting well.”

Leland Pankey will appear in court on June 27.

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