DENVER — A man was sentenced Friday to 72 years in prison for the 2018 death of his 7-year-old son, whose body was found encased in concrete inside a Denver storage unit, officials said.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann called Leland Pankey’s actions “calculated” and “depraved of any sense of humanity or human kindness.”

Pankey, 40, pleaded guilty in January to child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Caden McWilliams.

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Caden’s mother, Elisha Pankey, pleaded guilty in August to child abuse resulting in death. Her sentencing date has not been announced yet.

Caden’s body was found Dec. 23, 2018, encased inside a dog carrier in a Denver storage unit in the 5000 block of East Evans Avenue. The boy was severely emaciated and had sustained many injuries, investigators said. The child also had methamphetamine in his system.

McCann released the following statement Friday:

By all accounts, seven-year old Caden McWilliams had an inner light, a heart of gold, a contagious giggle, and a cascade of curls. Caden was loved by his family for his old soul and sweet and gentle nature and by his classmates for being a caring boy who was extremely popular and who loved dinosaurs. Caden loved to tinker and figure out how things worked and his family believes he would likely have been an engineer if he was given the chance to reach adulthood.

Caden’s family members believe that his spirit lives on and watches over them. They have collectively decided that the red-tailed hawk represents the elegance of Caden and they will forever be reminded of him by the sight of a hawk. My hope is that the hawk becomes a symbol for all Denverites and that whenever we see a hawk soaring, we will all take a moment to think of Caden and in that moment remember to be kind to one another.

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