DENVER – Families of people missing or murdered in Colorado gathered at the state Capitol Friday to tell their family members’ stories as the state House and Senate recognized them on Colorado Missing Persons Day.
There are more 1,800 missing persons and unsolved homicide cases in Colorado alone. But the dozens of families in the legislative chambers Friday put a name and face to some of those cases.
And despite the recognition, questions constantly remain for these families.
“Every day is a day that we remember that loved one and we wonder where they’re at and how do we bring them home,” said Robert Wells, whose brother’s murder remains unsolved after more than 30 years.
The families brought yellow balloons to release as a symbol of love and remembrance.
Laura Saxton started Colorado Missing Persons Day in honor of her daughter, Kelsie Schelling, who went missing out of Pueblo. She says the worst part of going through the cases is all of the unknowns.
“It’s just the saddest thing. There’s so many bad things that happen in this world, and to lose a child in any form or fashion is horrible, but to lose somebody and to not know what happened to them [is worse],” she said.
Saturday marks the fourth anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance.
The family is also increasing their reward for information about what happened to Kelsie to $100,000 for the month of February.
Saxton and Wells are both part of a cold case task force dedicated to finding out what happened to missing and murdered people. They are joined by local law enforcement on the task force, including police chiefs from Littleton and Boulder and the Denver District Attorney’s Office.
The task force has hundreds of cases under its purview, including the case of Gloria Garcia’s daughter Nicholle, who has been missing for 10 years.
Wells works with many of the families of victims and has asked the state to provide a minimum of four full-time criminal investigators to review the cases.
“We’re asking that the House, Senate and governor pass a bill to fund what has already been acknowledged as a successful program,” he said.
For more on the task force and other state missing persons programs, click here.