New Kelsie Schelling Search: Police Dig Up Field Near Former Home of Ex-BF

Update: Less than a month after excavating the back yard of a Pueblo home once occupied by the former boyfriend of Kelsie Schelling, a Denver woman who disappeared in February 2013 soon after she learned she was pregnant, police used heavy equipment to dig up portions of a field not far from the residence as part of a reinvigorated search effort. No new evidence was unearthed, but a recent post on the Help Find Kelsie Facebook page suggests that Schelling's loved ones believe an arrest could be in the offing.

Previous reports can be found below and on page two of this item.

The Pueblo Police Department announced its latest effort at its own Facebook address via the photo above and this note: "Pueblo Police detectives along with members of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation continue efforts into the search of missing person Kelsie Schelling. Efforts are focused today in an area near the previous residence of person of interest Donthe Lucas."

The distance from the home to the field: approximately one mile.

During April's backyard excavation, police said they'd uncovered items of possible evidentiary value. At this point, they're not saying if something they found inspired a search of the field.

Laura Saxton, Schelling's mom, was on hand to watch the police activity. The Help Find Kelsie Facebook page shared the following photo of her looking on along with a one-word caption: "Love."

Also posted on the page last night was the following message: "Stand strong Laura and family. Good will overcome evil. We thank all of the people involved in the search and those who are offering comments of support."

A few days earlier, another post alludes to the prospect of a Lucas arrest.

It reads: "The luring of Kelsie to come to Pueblo, by her boyfriend and father of her unborn baby, began before she was to go to the doctor. It's obvious that whatever his plan was, he wanted it to happen on February 3, 2013, so that she would never make it to her first appointment on February 4. Kelsie refused to go to Pueblo on February 3, but unfortunately, his persistence caused her to finally make the trip after her appointment and she finished her shift at work on February 4. This was a PREMEDITATED crime and should be treated as one, when justice is finally handed down."

Lucas has neither been arrested nor charged in Schelling's disappearance. However, as seen above, police now regularly refer to him as a person of interest.

Continue for coverage of April's excavations and much more.

Update, 5:29 a.m. April 17: The Pueblo Police Department uncovered and retrieved items of potential evidentiary value during its excavation behind the former home of Donthe Lucas, a person of interest in the case of Kelsie Schelling, who disappeared in February 2013 shortly after learning she was pregnant. See our previous coverage below.

However, authorities confirm that no human remains were located during the two-day process.

According to the Pueblo Chieftain, the search of the Manor Ridge Drive home was extensive; it even included the removal of a tree. But the approximately twenty law enforcers at the scene on April 13 was cut in half the next day — and while personnel could be seen carrying away paper and plastic evidence bags containing unknown items, a spokesperson "made it clear that no body had been found."

On April 15, the Help Find Kelsie Facebook page shared a post summarizing the latest developments underneath a photo of Kelsie with her mom, Laura Saxton, as seen below.

Note that Kadrie is the name given to Schelling's child. The post reads:
The past 2 days have been grueling and emotional, ending with the outcome we did not hope for. Kelsie is still missing. There is no way for me to convey to you all the pain that I feel right now.

Sincere, heartfelt thanks goes out to the members of Pueblo PD, CBI and Parks & Rec who worked so hard on this search for Kelsie. This was a physically demanding excavation for them and we witnessed how hard they worked. Despite all the issues we have had in the past, the new leadership over Kelsie's case from PPD and active involvement from CBI is giving us hope that an effective investigation is finally taking place.

More than anything else we just want Kelsie and Kadrie home with us. We will have no peace until that day comes. Your continued love, support and encouragement helps keep our family going and we thank you for that.
Continue for our previous coverage, with additional reports, including photos and video, continuing on a second page.

Update, 5:33 a.m. April 14: There's been a major development in the search for Kelsie Jean Schelling, a Denver resident who went missing in February 2013 during a trip to Pueblo shortly after learning she was pregnant. The Pueblo Police Department spent yesterday, April 13, searching the back yard at a home formerly occupied by Donthe Lucas, the boyfriend with whom Schelling was scheduled to meet around the time of her disappearance.

In a press release, the PPD, which has been the subject of criticism from Schelling's family at various points during the four years-plus since Kelsie vanished, reveals that detectives with the agency, joined by representatives from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Pueblo Parks and Recreation Department, "executed a search warrant in the 5100 block of Manor Ridge Drive...where person of interest Donthe Lucas previously resided."

This isn't the first time that Lucas, a onetime basketball player at Northeastern Junior College, has been described as a person of interest. He's been the focus of suspicions from the beginning, and Schelling's parents filed a lawsuit against his family in 2015. The suit was dismissed the following year.

The PPD noted that portions of the back yard at the former Lucas home were excavated, and the photo that accompanied the release, seen at the top of this post, shows shovels, wheelbarrows and piles of dirt.

Authorities haven't offered any specifics about what they were hoping to find, saying only that "investigators were looking for any evidence that may help in the investigation, which is ongoing."

In our earlier coverage, on view below, we detail previous efforts to find Schelling, including a $100,000 reward offered during the month of February 2017. (The reward — double the previous amount — reverted to its earlier size at month's end.) And late last year, self-described psychic detective Troy Griffin conducted his own investigation in an effort documented by the ABC program Nightline.

Thus far, the reaction to the latest actions on the Help Find Kelsie Facebook page, the online gathering place for Schelling's family, friends and loved ones, has largely been limited to link-sharing, with the exception of this graphic and accompanying caption:

By the way, Kadrie is the name that's been given to the child Schelling was carrying.

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to contact Pueblo Crime Stoppers at 719-542-STOP (7867). If a felony arrest results, tipsters could be eligible for a cash reward — and the Schelling family continues to offer its own $50,000 reward in the case.

Keep reading for more coverage.

Update, 7:05 a.m. March 1: The family of former Denver resident Kelsie Jean Schelling, who vanished following a February 2013 trip to Pueblo to meet with the boyfriend who had impregnated her, has announced that temporarily raising the reward for information on her whereabouts to $100,000 did not result in a long-sought break in the heartrending case.

As noted in our previous update, on view below, the reward offered for Kelsie's "direct return or location" was doubled from its previous $50,000 level for the month of February only to mark the fourth anniversary of her disappearance and her 26th birthday, which took place on February 18.

Last night, February 28, a post was shared on the Help Find Kelsie Facebook page. It reads:
Sadly it appears that the $100,000 reward for the direct return or location of Kelsie and baby Kadrie is not going to generate the information we long to receive. At 12:00 am on March 1, 2017, the reward will be placed back at $50,000. Disgustingly, the "Code of Pueblo" is too strong to do what is right.
There's no explanation of the term "Code of Pueblo." But Schelling's family has expressed dissatisfaction with the investigation of the case and the silence of the aforementioned boyfriend, Donthe Lucas, and his family. Get additional details in our previous coverage, which follows.

Continue for previous coverage of the search for Kelsie Schelling, including photos and videos.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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