Mother Arrested After Boy, 7, Found Dead in Storage Unit Believed to Have Been Killed in May

A 7-year-old boy whose dead body was discovered in a Denver storage facility in December is thought to have been killed in May, officials believe.

Denver Police Department said officers discovered the lifeless body of a child at a storage unit at 5005 East Evans Avenue on December 23. The force found the remains after receiving a tip from the Aurora Police Department.

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The police statement did not release the child's name, but he was identified as Caden McWilliams in homicide records seen by NBC-affiliate 9News.

Mary Dulacki, the custodian of Denver Department of Public Safety Records, told Fox31 detectives believe McWilliams died on May 24, 2018.

On Wednesday, Elisha Pankey, 43, who detectives believe is McWilliams' mother, gave herself up to police. She was arrested over child abuse resulting in death. Pankey, who appeared in court on Thursday, is being held at Downtown Detention Center, 9News reported.

Police had previous arrested Pankey on December 22 for heroin possession, Colorado Bureau of Investigation records showed, according to 9News.

The storage facility is located near where Pankey previously lived with her sister and her son, apartment manager Tina Wright told Fox 31. Pankey was evicted early last year after she failed to cover rent, according to Wright.

Wright told 9News McWilliams was a "sweet boy" and "very quiet."

"He played outside with his toys, you'd talk to him, he'd talk to you, you'd give him something and he'd be like 'Thank you Miss Tina.' Just sweet."

She told Fox 31 Pankey had "changed from a really outgoing person" to a "hermit that just wanted to stay in her house. And then they got evicted."

In the wake of the child's death, Ellis Elementary School, where McWilliams was a student, released a statement describing his passing as a "tragic loss."

"Caden McWilliams was the sweetest boy. He stood out from others from the moment he walked through the school doors every morning with a huge smile on his face.

"His smile and eyes showed how kind and sweet he was at the core. Other students wanted to be his friend and looked to Caden for what to do next. Caden was a model student who was not afraid to do the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do. He worked hard and did well academically.

The statement continued: "He was always positive, caring and lived the Ellis core value of Integrity. During recess, Caden would always notice friends who needed someone to play with and he would go to them. He was a truly kind and caring little boy who loved being at school with his teachers and his friends."

The medical examiner has been tasked with identifying the cause and manner of the child's death, police said.

Denver Police Department urges anyone with information on Pankey and her son to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).

Elisha Pankey
Elisha Pankey has been arrested after her son 7-year-old son was found dead in a Denver storage unit. Denver Police Department