Break in Kelsie Schelling Disappearance? Man Wanted for Stealing Signs About Her
A Facebook photo of Kelsie Jean Schelling. Additional images and videos below.
More than three years later, the case is receiving renewed attention thanks in large part to it being featured on a recent episode of the ABC newsmagazine program 20/20. A portion of that broadcast is on view below.
The latest? The Pueblo Police Department has put out an alert for a man who is suspected of stealing more than a dozen signs related to the search for Schelling and has released a video showing the vehicle he drove while doing so.
Authorities can't say for certain if this man was involved in the Schelling case — but it's a possible clue in a case that's as mysterious as it has been agonizing for her friends, family and loved ones.
As we've reported, Schelling, then 21, was last seen on February 4, 2013. The photos and writings shared at the Help Find Kelsie Facebook page portray her as a member of a loving family and a person of deep faith. An example of the latter can be seen in this photo....
Kelsie Jean Schelling.
...and accompanying text, which reads:
Kelsie, being a very spiritual and faith-filled person, maintains a running list of favorite Bible verses. Her Bible, filled with fluorescent highlights and personal footnotes, contains her reflections as she continues to pursue her Faith. She would be overwhelmed with the kindness of people and their efforts to find her. So we'd like to share something of hers with you. Please keep Kelsie in your prayers as we continue to bring her home. We cannot afford to stop searching for a person that has such love for her family and friends, and who is inclusive of all.
About ten days after Schelling went missing, the accompanying Help Find Kelsie website noted that her car, a Chevrolet Cruze, was located in the parking lot of St. Mary Corwin hospital in Pueblo. Here's a Google map image showing the location:
The following month, the Pueblo Police Department put out photos showing shots of the car circa February 5 and 6 from somewhere else — the parking lot of an area Walmart. More concerningly, the images depict a male getting into the car and driving it away. Here are the four images shared by the PPD:
Pueblo Police Department
Pueblo officers subsequently announced that they had looked for Schelling in various parts of the city using canines "specialized in searching for missing persons." But no breakthroughs emerged.
Then, at an April news conference, Schelling's family revealed new information about the pregnancy that motivated her drive to Pueblo, as well as details about her boyfriend.
Another Facebook portrait of Kelsie Jean Schelling.
According to Laura Saxton, Schelling's mother, her daughter got confirmation of her pregnancy on February 4, 2013. Doctor's records confirm that she was eight weeks pregnant, with the presumed father being her boyfriend, Donthe Lucas, who played basketball for Northeastern Junior College.
"Cell phone records show that Kelsie sent picture messages of her ultrasound pictures taken that day to family members and also to Donthe and his mother," Saxton said at an April 2013 press conference. "Cell phone records also show that Donthe asked Kelsie to come to Pueblo when she got off of work that night because he needed to speak with her in person.
"We know that Kelsie made it to Pueblo and did meet up with Donthe," Saxton continued. "No one has seen or heard from her since."
A timeline of the events in the case, as shared on the Help Find Kelsie Facebook page.
Does Saxton believe Lucas played a role in Schelling's disappearance? "We are not satisfied with Donthe's original account of the events leading up to Kelsie's disappearance," she said, adding, "We are informed that he has since refused to speak with the Pueblo Police Department."
Over the months and years that followed, Schelling's loved ones have staged numerous events and organized searches in Pueblo in an effort to keep the case on the radar of the public and police — and those efforts continued prior to the second anniversary of her disappearance. Supporters staged a justice walk on February 7, 2015 in Pueblo, as noted in this Facebook graphic:
Such efforts eventually attracted the attention of producers at 20/20 as well as members of the community.
According to a new release from the Public Police Department, one such person paid for the creation of yard signs about Schelling, and fourteen to sixteen of them were placed in the grass and rock areas on the south side of the Walmart parking lot with permission of store management.
Denver Outlaws / Major League Lacrosse All Star Game
TicketsSat., Dec. 29, 6:00pm
The signs were put in place on May 1 — but three days later, on May 4, all of them were removed by an unknown person.
Surveillance video from the area shows the person in question to be a "tall white male wearing black shorts and a white T-shirt" who was driving "a blue-colored minivan," the PPD release notes.
Anyone with information about the man or the van is encouraged to contacted Pueblo Police Detective Shane Pope at 719-553-2441..
Continue to see a 9News report featuring the PPD clip as well as a portion of the 20/20 broadcast.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.