Elisha Panke, a 45-year-old Colorado woman, received the maximum sentence for the death of her son, Caden McWilliams, 7, according to the Denver District Attorney’s Office. You must serve 32 years in prison after pleading guilty in August 2019 to the felony child abuse that resulted in death. The District Court judge added a. Bruce Jones five years of mandatory parole.
The child’s father, Leland Panke, 41, was sentenced in February to 72 years in prison for maltreating children resulting in the death and manipulation of a deceased human body. He, too, received the maximum possible punishment in his case.
“The horrific death of Caden McQuilliams shocked the conscience and was incomprehensible to the people of Denver,” Denver D. Beth McCann said in a statement. “Now that Elisha Banke has been sentenced, the legal proceedings in this case are over. Nevertheless, the Cadden story is one that will always remain in my heart, in the hearts of the wonderful prosecutors, victim advocates and investigators, as well as everyone who knew and loved Kaden.”
McCann described the child in glowing terms.
“By all accounts, seven-year-old Caden McWilliams had an inner light, a heart of gold, an infectious laugh, and a series of curls,” she said after his father was sentenced in February. “Kaden was loved by his family for his ancient spirit and gentle and gentle nature, and by his classmates for being a caring and extremely popular boy who liked dinosaurs. Kaden loved doodling and discovering how things worked and his family believed he would have been an engineer if he had the opportunity to reach adulthood “.
Denver Police said in January 2019 that they had received information from their Aurora counterparts about the missing McWilliams. They said they had found a storage unit in which they discovered his body. Leland Banke was charged with the murder, and ended up pleading guilty to the lowest charges. Finally, the authorities said that the parents hid the boy’s body in cement after his death. Police said the child sustained injuries to his head and chest. Caden was found on December 23, 2018, but he may have been dead since May 2018.
“A parent’s job is above all to protect his or her child, and as a society, we are confident that when families go behind closed doors, children are loved and cared for,” McCann said. “Elisha Banke failed in this community agreement, so we are grateful to Judge Jones for handing the appropriate sentence.”
[Elisha Panky mugshot via the Denver Police Department; Leland Pankey mugshot via the Colorado Department of Corrections; Photo by Caden McWilliams via the Denver Area District Attorney’s office]