DENVER -- After waiting eight long years for justice, the family and friends of a missing Denver woman are still left struggling with the unknown. Even though Kelsie Schelling's killer is behind bars for life, her body is still missing.
Earlier this month, a jury returned a quick verdict and convicted Donthe Lucas of first-degree murder. A judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In the weeks following the trial, Schelling's family and friends have felt a sense of emptiness after spending years fighting for justice.
"The trial is over and Kelsie still hasn’t been found. I’ve just felt very lost and very empty," said Laura Saxton, Schelling's mom, during an interview with ABC's 20/20.
A two-hour ABC 20/20 special will profile the disappearance of Schelling and murder trial, featuring an exclusive interview with her mother. The program airs Friday, March 26 at 8 p.m. MT on Denver7.
Two weeks after Donthe Lucas was convicted of murdering Kelsie Schelling, Denver7's Liz Gelardi spoke with friends of Kelsie's in a story that will run at 5 p.m. From 8-10 p.m., ABC 20/20 is running special on the investigation and case on Denver7. https://t.co/JC8b4dp7Ln pic.twitter.com/PjEUkoSbte— Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) March 26, 2021
Denver7 spoke with Schelling's roommate, Aly Cox, who was also interviewed as part of the episode. Cox testified in court about the toxic relationship between Lucas and Schelling. She believes the story could save lives.
"I really feel like she’s a voice for someone that if anyone is in a situation where they’re with somebody that they don’t feel is right for them, or they feel is doing them any sort of harm, that it’s OK to walk away. Kelsie was kind of the worst-case scenario, unfortunately, in the situation and she didn’t get that chance," said Cox.
Schelling was 21 years old and eight weeks pregnant when she drove from Denver to Pueblo to meet up with Lucas in February 2013. He was her boyfriend and the father of her unborn child.
According to police, she drove to a Pueblo Walmart where the two were supposed to meet before heading to another location near a home where Lucas' grandmother lived at the time.
Police believe Lucas was the last person to see Schelling alive. Her family and friends immediately suspected that he was involved in her disappearance but Lucas wasn't charged with the murder until December of 2017. Even after his arrest, the trial faced numerous delays.
“I feel like it honestly should’ve happened much sooner. I wish it happened much sooner but I’m glad that it happened. I feel like eight years is too long," said Cox.
A conviction hasn't led authorities any closer to Schelling's body. Cox hopes one day Lucas will do the right thing and let authorities know where she is.
"At this point, he has nothing else to lose," said Cox. "We don’t know where her final resting place is and we want to be able to bring her home and give her that."