Dad Is Charged in Murder of Boy, 7, Whose Body Was Found Encased in Concrete

The father of a 7-year-old boy whose body was found encased in concrete last year has been charged in his death.

Leland Pankey, 39, has been charged with first degree murder in the 2018 death of his son, Caden McWilliams, the Denver District Attorney’s Office announced in a press release obtained by PEOPLE.

Pankey is also facing charges of child abuse resulting in death and tampering with a dead body. The charges come five months after Caden’s mother, Elisha Pankey, 43, was charged with child abuse resulting in death and abuse of a corpse.

“What began as a domestic violence call to the Aurora Police Department rapidly evolved into a homicide investigation,” District Attorney Beth McCann said in the press release, calling Caden’s death a “truly horrific crime.”

Caden was discovered missing by police after they responded to a domestic violence call involving the couple in December. When they were unable to locate the couple’s eldest son they began searching for the boy.

Through their investigation, police were led to a local storage unit where they found a large block of concrete in a dog carrier. The following day, the medical examiner removed remains from the concrete and identified them as belonging to Caden.

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While the exact time and cause of death remains unknown, his death was ruled a homicide.

It remains unclear how the boy got into the storage unit but sources told KDVR he had been dead for a “long time” before being found.

In a criminal complaint previously obtained by PEOPLE, authorities only include a time period in which they believe the alleged crimes occurred: sometime between May and September of last year.

Prior to her arrest, Elisha Pankey allegedly confessed to an anonymous source that her son had been living in a dog crate before he died. On the night of his death, Caden allegedly cried out for help saying he was hot in the crate, which had a blanket placed on top, the source told investigators. He was not let out and was found dead the next day.

Court documents reveal Elisha Pankey may have cooperated with investigators after being charged, the Associated Press reports.

Leland Pankey is currently incarerated on separate charges unrelated to Caden’s death, the AP reports. Attorney information for both Leland and Elisha Pankey was unavailable at the time of this writing.

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