PUEBLO, CO — On February 4, 2013, 21-year-old Kelsie Schelling visited a doctor in Denver and then shared huge news: She was eight weeks pregnant.
In her excitement, Schelling texted ultrasound photos to relatives and her boyfriend (and now expectant father), 20-year-old Donthe Lucas, who was about two hours away in Pueblo at the time. Lucas wrote back that he needed speak with Schelling “in person.” She drove out to meet him. No one has seen Kelsie alive since then.
After nearly five years of circling Lucas as a person of interest in the case, Denver authorities charged him with first-degree murder on December 1, 2017. They didn’t have to look hard to file the charges: Lucas had already been in lock-up for two weeks as a suspect in an armed robbery from September. He is being held without bond.
Investigators have also been physically digging up particular properties throughout 2017, prompting many to wonder what they might have found. Neither police nor prosecutors have yet revealed what circumstances finally led to a judge signing Lucas’s arrest warrant. Pueblo Police Captain Kenny Rider simply acknowledged, “It’s been a work in progress for several years.”
— Pueblo Police Dept (@PuebloPolice1) December 1, 2017
Kelsie Schelling and Donthe Lucas initially met in 2010 at Northeastern Junior College. She was studying for an undergraduate degree. He proved to be a standout on the school’s basketball team.
The couple dated consistently over the next several years, leading up to the tragedy of February 4, when Schelling pulled into a Walmart parking lot in Pueblo at 11 P.M., where she was to meet Lucas.
On a recovered text message, Schelling told Lucas just before midnight that she was “tired of waiting” for him to arrive. He wrote back and directed her to meet him on a corner near his grandmother’s house. Some time later, Schelling texted, “Where are you? I’ve been here over an hour just waiting.” That was the last time anyone heard from her.
After Schelling vanished, Lucas appeared on surveillance video using Schelling’s debit card to take $400 out of her bank account. In another CCTV, he shows up driving her car back to the Walmart and ditching it.
Officers picked up Lucas on February 15 and charged him with identity theft, but they couldn’t even hold him on that rap.
From the get-go, Lucas denied any knowledge of what happened to Schelling. He claimed they argued over the pregnancy and she kicked him out of her car. Five years of dead ends followed — but so did persistent police work that resulted in the recent bust.
Aside from the monumental task at hand of proving Lucas guilty, authorities still have another major hurdle to clear: finding out what actually became of Kelshie Schelling.
As Laura Saxton, Kelsie’s mother put it: “We are thankful for this step toward justice and pray it brings answers as to where Kelsie’s remains are located … We still have a very long road ahead of us.”
Kelsie’s family is offering a reward of up to $50,000 to the person or persons who provide(s) information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible for her disappearance. If you can help or have any other information, please call 1 (855) 4-KELSIE or send a tip to HelpFindKelsie.com.
Main photos: Kelsie Schelling [HelpFindKelsie.com publicity image]; Donthe Lucas [Pueblo Police Department]