A man whose son was found dead encased in concrete in a storage unit has been charged with first-degree murder.
Leland Pankey, 39, from Colorado, was also charged with child abuse resulting in a death and tampering with a deceased human in the death of Caden McWilliams, 7, prosecutors said.
Caden had been beaten and starved by his father before he was forced to sleep in a dog crate where he later died, the boy’s mother told the police.
According to the Denver District Attorney’s Office, Pankey had been in custody on unrelated charges, including domestic violence against his wife, Elisha Pankey.
Beth McCann, prosecuting, said: “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.
“We have now implicated both parents in this truly horrific crime.”
Caden’s body was found last December inside a Denver storage unit where the police said his body was encased in a block of cement placed inside a dog kennel.
An autopsy report stated Caden had traces of meth and cocaine in his liver. He was also severely emaciated when he died, according to the Denver Post.
The boy weighed about 27 pounds at the time of his death but it remained unclear exactly how he died.
Police arrested mother Elisha in January and she remained in custody on suspicion of child abuse leading to death, it is reported.
Elisha Pankey reportedly told the police that the family moved into a hotel in May 2018. She said she knew her husband was abusing Caden and not feeding him.
She said on July 11, Pankey held Caden by his neck up against a wall that the boy’s feet were not touching the floor.
About three days later, the Pankeys found the boy dead in the dog carrier.
Police were led to Pankey after investigating Elisha Pankey’s allegations of domestic abuse.
Elisha Pankey is scheduled to appear in court next Wednesday and Pankey is due back in court in June 27.