Investigators search Pueblo home, yard for new clues in missing pregnant Denver woman's case

PUEBLO, Colo. – A missing persons case involving a pregnant Denver woman who went missing four years ago in Pueblo thawed Thursday, as local and state investigators searched a Pueblo home for clues relating to her disappearance.

Detectives with the Pueblo Police Department and investigators with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at a home in the 5100 block of Manor Ridge Drive at 8 a.m. Thursday to try and find anything new in the case involving Kelsie Schelling’s disappearance.

The home used to be occupied by Donthe Lucas, who was Schelling’s boyfriend and the father of her unborn child and has long been considered a suspect in the case. But he has never been convicted of any charges relating to Schelling’s disappearance.

Around a dozen detectives and investigators combed through the backyard of the home, placing flags and digging up portions of the yard, “looking for evidence that may help in the investigation, which is ongoing,” police said.

Schelling was 21 years old and eight weeks pregnant when she vanished on Feb. 4, 2013. She had her first doctor’s visit and had seen a sonogram of her baby earlier that day.

After the trip to the doctor and a shift at work, the Denver woman drove two hours south to Pueblo to visit Lucas, and has never been seen since.

Lucas was found to have parked her car at an area Walmart the day after she disappeared, and an unidentified man picked it up and eventually dropped it off again at the St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center. Police recovered the vehicle Feb. 7.

Schelling was never seen in surveillance video at either location.

Investigators discovered through text messages that Schelling and Lucas had talked to one another once she had reached Pueblo, but the messages stopped shortly after she got there.

Lucas was at one point arrested on felony identity theft and misdemeanor theft charges for allegedly using Schelling’s debit card to withdraw $400 at a bank on Feb. 5 of that year.

He was named as a primary person of interest in Schelling’s disappearance, but the charges relating to his alleged use of her credit card were eventually dropped.

Schelling’s mother and other family members have long believed Lucas is somehow involved in her disappearance, and have continued to plead with CBI for answers.

“I think Kelsie’s case is very solvable. I think it should’ve been solved a long time before now, and we’re not giving up…there will be a resolution to this,” Schelling’s mother, Laura Saxton, told Denver7 when we covered Schelling’s case for Project Unsolved in February.

CBI was brought in by Pueblo police fairly recently to assist in the case.

CBI Director Michael Rankin told Denver7 in February that when his team is brought in, they re-examine and scrutinize the evidence and details collected in the case so far.

“I think that the starting point [is] let’s take a look at, first of all, what happened? What do we know? What’s been done to further that investigation, and then, where can the CBI plug in to further advance the investigation and hopefully the prosecution as well,” Rankin said.

Schelling’s family has long offered a reward for information leading investigators to their daughter or to an arrest and conviction of someone in her disappearance – upping the reward to $100,000 in February and organizing a Colorado Missing Persons Day event at the state Capitol on Feb. 3

Pueblo police say the investigation into the case remains ongoing and that they are looking for tips related to the case. To submit anonymous tips in the case, contact Pueblo Crime Stoppers at 542-STOP or go to their website.

You can also contact the Colorado Bureau of Investigation at 303-239-4300. Saxton has also created a website dedicated to helping find her daughter.

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