Missing Persons Day declared in Colorado

Missing Persons Day declared in Colorado

This week marks the third anniversary of the disappearance of 21-year old Kelsie Schelling of Yuma.

Schelling disappeared around February 5, 2013. She had discovered she was two months pregnant and according to court documents travelled to Pueblo to talk about it with her boyfriend Donthe Lucas. She was never heard from again.

Lucas was later seen using Schelling’s ATM card to withdraw money from her bank account and driving off with her car. Surveillance videos showed Schelling was not in the vehicle.

Kelsie’s parents, Laura Saxton and Doug Schelling, say Lucas killed her that night with the help of his family, including his mother, Sara.

But the Pueblo Police Department has done little to investigate the disappearance, according to Schelling’s parents, who filed a lawsuit against the department as well as Lucas and his family a year ago.

The case remains open and an active investigation, according to Eric Gonzales, public information officer for the Pueblo Police Department.

Today Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, hopes to remind the public of Kelsie’s case, with a resolution declaring Feb. 4 “Missing Persons Day.”

In conjunction with the resolution, Schelling’s family will be at the state Capitol this week to release balloons in her memory.

Sonnenberg also is sponsoring a bill that would make it a felony to tamper with a dead body. Senate Bill 16-005, would increase the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony for anyone who destroys or otherwise moves or alters a dead body with the intention of keeping it from the police. The bill would also make discovering a dead body and not telling police a crime.

If passed, the law would give police one additional tool to put pressure on homicide suspects or those who assist them, Sonnenberg said.  Saxton said the bill won’t do anything to help with Kelsie’s case, but supports it.

“It will be for victims in the future who we hope will gain more justice from this bill,” Saxton said.

Schelling’s family also plans to hold a “justice walk” in Pueblo at noon on Saturday.

Protestors have regularly demonstrated outside the Pueblo Police Department, attempting to encourage the police to more fully investigate Kelsie’s disappearance.

According to court documents, Donthe Lucas has only been interviewed once in the last three years since Kelsie’s disappearance, although he continues to be a “person of interest.” Charges were filed against him for using Kelsie’s debit card without permission, but those charges were later dropped.

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About the Author

Marianne Goodland

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.

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