DENVER – The mother of a 7-year-old found dead inside a storage unit just before Christmas was charged Monday in the boy’s death.
Elisha Pankey was formally charged with child abuse resulting in the death of Caden McWilliams and abuse of a corpse. Online court records do not list an attorney for Pankey who could comment on the charges.
Pankey, 43, turned herself in to Denver police on Wednesday and remains jailed on $250,000 bond. A judge has sealed all records in the case, including a document laying out the reasons for Pankey’s arrest.
Authorities have not said exactly when the boy was reported missing or released information about when or how he died.
Court records filed by prosecutors on Monday only provide a range of when authorities believe the crimes occurred.
Prosecutors allege the child abuse that caused the boy’s death occurred between May 20 and Aug. 1 and the abuse of a corpse occurred between May 1 and Sept. 1.
A Denver Police spokesman told The Associated Press on Friday that investigators believe McWilliams last attended school in May.
Denver authorities got involved Dec. 23, when neighboring Aurora Police contacted them with information about a missing boy. They found the boy’s body that day inside a unit at a self-serve storage facility.
Aurora officers had arrested Pankey the previous day on suspicion of heroin possession after coming into contact with her while investigating a missing child, according to court records. Aurora Police have declined to comment further on that missing child case.
“Thanks to the tenacious work by both the Aurora and Denver Police Departments, we now know that young Caden was not only missing for several months, he was no longer alive,” Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said Monday. “This is a terrible tragedy for the community. While this case will take time to resolve, it will take even longer for our community to learn and heal.”
As winter break ends this week, Denver Public Schools officials say grief counselors will be available for students and staff at the elementary school that McWilliams attended.
Pankey’s next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
This story has been corrected to list the bond amount for Elisha Pankey as $250,000, not $25,000.