PUEBLO, Colo. – The mother of Kelsie Schelling said she was emotional as she saw Donthe Lucas, the man accused of killing her daughter, in court for the first time Monday morning.
Lucas, 25, waived his first court appearance in December after he was arrested on first-degree murder charges in relation to Schelling’s 2013 disappearance, but was ordered to appear at a brief court hearing Monday to determine the next steps in his case.
The attorney for Lucas told the judge more time was needed to prepare for the case, as it contains about 20,000 pages of discovery, the attorney said. Another future hearing will be set to determine when a preliminary hearing in the case might be held.
Schelling’s mother, Laura Saxton, spoke to Denver7 after the hearing. The five-year anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance is coming up next month.
“I wasn’t sure we’d ever be here, honestly,” Saxton told Denver7, saying that though she’d long suspected that Lucas, who was Schelling’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, was responsible for her daughter’s death, that she wasn’t sure an arrest would ever be made.
“Just waiting for him to walk through that door, my anxiety was really high and then it was emotional to actually see him,” Saxton said.
Lucas didn’t look at Saxton or Schelling’s friends while in court and showed no emotion during the proceedings. But Saxton said afterward that seeing Lucas in court was a positive sign in gaining some closure.
“Even if this was just a short hearing, it’s a first step in what I know is going to be a horribly-long process,” Saxton said. “But at least it’s a first step and I think those of us who love Kelsie need these things just to kind of help us keep going, and to know that the process is going rather than to just have absolutely nothing.”
The affidavit for Lucas’ arrest remains sealed, so few details about what led prosecutors to charge him with first-degree murder have been released.
Schelling was pregnant with Lucas’ child when she disappeared while visiting him in Pueblo in February 13. The only trace left behind was her abandoned car, found on Feb. 14 after it was abandoned Feb. 7 at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital. Her body has never been found.
Saxton said in December she was told police that her daughter’s body had yet to be recovered, and reiterated that Monday.
“We don’t know where Kelsie is, and when Donthe got arrested, it didn’t honestly have much of an effect on me…and I wondered if coming today would change that, and maybe it did a little bit,” Saxton said. “But the fact hasn’t changed that we don’t have her and he’s not talking, so I have a lot of fear for the rest of my life having to live like this.”
Lucas has long been considered a suspect in the case but he has never been convicted on any charges. Investigators were at his home in April searching for evidence, but it’s not known what was found.
Lucas and his brother, Dushon Lucas, both face charges in connection with a Sept. 1 armed robbery, along with their mother. Donthe was arrested while trying to board a plane to Phoenix at Denver International Airport late last year.
And despite police not yet being able to get Lucas to talk, she said she will continue to fight for justice for her missing daughter.
“If we had kept quiet, this would’ve gone away and we would not be here today. So you’ve just got to try and find that strength in there somewhere and fight for your child or family member who doesn’t have a voice anymore,” Saxton said. “I know she’s watching over us, and we just want her to know how much she’s loved and missed.”