Man who buried 7-year-old son's corpse in concrete after he suffocated in a dog kennel charged with murder

39-year-old Leland Pankey was accused of murdering his young son, Caden McWilliams, in July last year, before he concealed the child's remains inside a storage facility


                            Man who buried 7-year-old son's corpse in concrete after he suffocated in a dog kennel charged with murder

The father of a seven-year-old boy whose malnourished body was found entombed in concrete has now been formally charged with his murder. The father, 39-year-old Leland Pankey, was accused of murdering his young son, Caden McWilliams, in July last year, before he concealed the child's remains inside a storage facility in Denver. On Thursday, May 30, prosecutors in Colorado further charged the man with child abuse resulting in death and tampering with a dead body.

MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported that Caden's corpse was not found until December last year when authorities began investigating Leland and his wife, Elisha Pankey, who claimed that her husband had choked her and threatened to kill her. Leland is currently serving a state prison sentence on unrelated charges.

Caden McWilliams (Source: GoFundMe)

Court records released on Thursday, May 30, indicated that the boy's mother cooperated with investigators as she faces charges of child abuse resulting in death and abuse of a corpse in his death. The records say Elisha and her attorneys met with investigators in March, about two months after she was charged.

The records stated that Elisha told police that the family moved into a hotel at the end of May 2018 and she knew her husband physically abused Caden and was not feeding the boy. Elisha also told police that her husband kept their son in a dog kennel "a few days" before he died in mid-July. Previously released court records stated that Elisha told a fellow inmate that they kept the boy in the carrier overnight despite his cries of being thirsty and hot. Elisha said the boy was dead one morning and she believed he had suffocated, the records stated.

The fellow inmate, who is not identified in the court records, told police that Elisha told her that she and her husband took the boy's body — still inside the animal carrier —to the storage unit, poured concrete over him and wrapped the carrier in plastic trash bags.

Elisha Pankey (Source: Denver Police)

Authorities did not find Caden's body until December as they investigated Elisha's allegations of domestic violence against Leland. An autopsy found signs that Caden was severely emaciated and showed evidence of injuries to his head, chest and limbs, some of which showed signs of healing.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann called the young boy's death a "truly horrific crime".

"This case has been painstaking and painful for all involved," McCann said in a statement. Leland is due in court on June 27. Elisha is due back in court on Tuesday, June 4. She is represented by the state public defenders' office, which bars its attorneys from commenting on individual cases.

With AP inputs.

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