EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — One year ago today, we learned about the disappearance of 11-year-old Gannon Stauch, a boy whose story, search and tragic death captured the hearts and minds of people worldwide.
On this difficult anniversary, FOX31’s Nicole Fierro spoke one-on-one with Gannon’s mother and father.
“Even as we stand here now, some things were happening one year ago today and it’s unthinkable,” Gannon’s dad Al said.
A full year has passed, but that life-changing moment — picking up the phone and learning Gannon Stauch, their first-born, had disappeared — replays each and every day in his parents’ minds.
“I remember walking outside and just praying, just praying so hard that he’d be there,” Gannon’s mother Landen Hiott said, adding, “I had hope and I had faith that he would and then reality just sank in when I got there and I’ll never forget it. It’s like it happened just a second ago.”
“I had just gotten back from a six-mile run and then I got notified, as we know the story, I got notified by Tecia and from there it was a whirlwind, just get as soon as I can and just start figuring out what to do,” Al said.
Since Jan. 27, 2020, Al and Landen have faced more than any parent could ever imagine.
“It’s unimaginable — the past year and all that happened on this date last year,” Al said.
“It’s not a second, it’s not a day, it’s not a month; it’s been a year since I’ve seen my boy and I long for him and I miss him,” Hiott said. “It’s like I’m riding on a road that never ends and then internally, I’m just screaming on the inside, just not understanding why any of this can happen. And it’s just like that every single day, just the same thing over and over and over. To me, it still doesn’t make sense.”
Hiott says trying to make sense of the senseless this past year has been like staring at a bunch of puzzle pieces that just won’t fit.
“You just look at the puzzle pieces and they haven’t moved and it just doesn’t make sense,” she said. “Still to this day, I’m like, ‘No, it didn’t happen, this did not happen.'”
“The hardest questions I’ve asked throughout this past year is: why?,” Al said. “I may never get those answers, nobody may ever get those answers of why. I know enough about the ‘what’ to be tormented about it but the why. Sweet little children don’t deserve to be treated the way he was.”
These parents say community support from loved ones to complete strangers has helped immeasurably during the unthinkable time.
“As we have found out details of what happened, some days have been unbearable,” Al said, adding, “But through the prayers of the community and support along the way, that’s why we are here. Parents, families, uncles, brothers, sisters — hug your family members, reconnect with them because you are just not guaranteed tomorrow or even the next moment. We’re not guaranteed it, so embrace it while it’s here.”
“Just to see the love, I’m thankful,” Hiott said. “I’m so thankful. If there was a word higher than thankful, I would say that. I am very appreciative.”