Dad of 7-year-old found encased in cement in Denver storage unit now being charged

Leland Pankey

DENVER — Charges have been filed against the father of 7-year-old Caden McWilliams, the boy who was found dead in a southeast Denver storage unit in December.

The Denver District Attorney’s Office said Thursday that Leland Pankey, 39, faces three counts: first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death and tempering with a deceased human.

A hearing is scheduled for June 27.

Cocaine metabolite and methamphetamine were detected in Caden McWilliams’s liver tissue.

McWilliams’ mother, Elisha Pankey, was already charged in the death in January. She was charged with child abuse resulting in death and abuse of a corpse

The boy’s body was found encased in cement in a dog carrier inside a storage unit in the 5000 block of East Evans Avenue on Dec. 23, 2018.

“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,” said District Attorney Beth McCann in a statement. “We have now implicated both parents in this truly horrific crime.”

McCann added that McWilliams’ younger sister is “safe and adjusting well.”

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