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Facebook groups grow as Gannon search continues

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Authorities have not given up hope on finding Gannon Stauch. And while law enforcement looks for leads in the physical world, thousands are monitoring the case online, building Facebook groups where information is posted non-stop. 

Group organizers say they just want to bring Gannon home and this is how they stay connected to the case.  

They're parents, amateur sleuths and true crime enthusiasts. 

"For me we just kinda saw it popping up around Facebook, and that's how I got into it," said Facebook group "Where is Gannon Stauch?" co-founder Brenna Polanco. "I was never into the crime stuff until this."

Their backgrounds are all different, but their interest is the same -- members discussing theories, posting pictures and videos about a case that's captivated the community. 

"With [Gannon] being a child, I think it gets to everybody and I think that's why it's grown so big," she said. 

Polanco has a newborn at home so she doesn't sleep much and says this case keeps her up at night. Polanco is not alone. There are several similar groups, some with as many as 22,000 members

According to a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office, these groups are protected by their 1st Amendment right to free speech. The spokesperson admits that some tips have originated online.

But for a tip to truly be taken seriously, proper channels should be used -- by calling or emailing official tip lines. 

Still, for group members like Polanco, keeping tabs on the case keeps hope alive. 

"We still have hope. Until we hear a different word," she said. 

The Sheriff's Office has received more than 500 tips to date and continues to vet and follow-up on each lead coming in.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call 719-520-6666 or email tips@elpasoco.com.

Colorado Springs / Local News

Kristen Skovira

Kristen is a reporter and an anchor for the weekend evening newscasts. You can learn more about Kristen here.