Since February 2013, we've been reporting about the disappearance of Kelsie Jean Schelling, a onetime resident of Denver (she lived in the Larimer Square area) who vanished in Pueblo. She'd headed south to see her boyfriend shortly after learning she was pregnant.
In the intervening three years-plus, the case has gotten national attention — most notably by way of the ABC newsmagazine 20/20, which devoted an entire episode to Schelling's disappearance this past May. See the program in its entirety below.
Tonight, another ABC program, Nightline, is expected to spotlight the heartbreaking circumstances again, but with an unexpected twist. The segment will concentrate on the ongoing inquiry being conducted by Westminster-based Troy Griffin, who describes himself as a psychic detective.
"I can't use the word 'investigator,' because I'm not licensed," Griffin acknowledges. "But what I do is combine my psychic gifts with detective work."
Thus far, more traditional investigative methods have failed to provide Laura Saxton, Schelling's mother, with the answers she's so desperately been seeking. So she turned to Griffin.
"I was referred by a past client of mine who's a victim's advocate in another county," he says. "She referred me to Laura, and I've been on two searches with her thus far" — including one that took place in Pueblo this past Saturday, December 3, with a Nightline crew documenting the process. There were no breakthroughs, Griffin says, but he remains optimistic.
"Although our day didn't yield the results we were hoping for, we are now able to take what we have learned and move forward with new clues to investigate," he notes, adding, "This is a solvable case."
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....
...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 officers subsequently announced that they had looked for Schelling in various parts of the city using canines "specialized in searching for missing persons."
Then, at a news conference that April, Schelling's family revealed new details about the pregnancy that motivated her drive to Pueblo and her boyfriend.
According to Saxton, her daughter got confirmation of her pregnancy on February 4, 2013. A doctor's records confirm that she was eight weeks pregnant, with the presumed father being her boyfriend, Donthe Lucas, who played basketball for Pueblo's 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."
At the press conference, Saxton stated that "we know Kelsie made it to Pueblo and did meet up with Donthe. No one has seen or heard from her since." She also made it clear that "we are not satisfied with Donthe's original account of the events leading up to Kelsie's disappearance."
To date, Lucas has not been formally accused of causing Schelling's disappearance, and his arrest on suspicion of identity theft after allegedly using Schelling's credit card went nowhere; the charges against him were soon dropped.
Despite the fresh revelations, the investigation slowed to a crawl, and by February 2015, Saxton and Doug Schelling, Kelsie's father, were so frustrated that they filed a lawsuit against the Pueblo police, maintaining that Lucas was guilty and the cops had botched the case.
The suit was dismissed a year later, but Saxton remains committed to finding out what happened to Kelsie.
Hence her turn to Griffin, who traces the roots of his current vocation to an encounter with another psychic "at a friend's gift shop. She asked me if I was intuitive, and I said yes. She was working on a missing-person's case in the Bronx with the police there. I told her about what I thought happened to the girl she was looking for and where I thought she might be, and weeks later, I heard back from her — and she said I had validated probably 97 percent of the police report. A few weeks passed after that, and then I had a girl come to me in a vision — more or less in a dream. It was a case in North Carolina that was about three weeks old at the time, and it was pretty accurate with the information I had."
At that point, Griffin goes on, "I did some soul-searching about what I wanted to do next. I'm a Christian, and I had to look at my religious beliefs and what my friends and family might think. But after I was able to help a couple of people. I decided that I would start doing this."
Griffin currently makes his living by way of private readings, but he only accepts payment for his psychic detective work "if I'm hired by an agency or an investigative firm." He's working on the Schelling case pro bono.
The Nightline segment is expected to include a testimonial about Griffin from a past client, Rhonda Sheya, whose brother went missing back in 2014. As she divulges in a testimonial on view below, Griffin said her brother was very close to home and surrounded by water — a prediction that she initially dismissed as the musings of a crackpot. But before long, his body was found in Clear Creek, only about a mile and a half from his destination.
According to Griffin, he has four suspects in mind when it comes to Schelling's disappearance — three that are known to him (including Lucas), and a fourth person whose identity he has not yet pinned down. He feels that the crime itself was committed in "an act of rage," and that one or more of the other individuals helped cover it up. He's also had visions regarding "a place of interest to me where I believe Kelsie can be found — or at least close to the last place she will ever be found. But because I'm not familiar with the area, I have to find that place. During the search this past Saturday, I met a couple of people who've lived in Pueblo their whole life, and when I described the location, they informed me that they know where it is — along a creek that flows into the Arkansas River. I guess it's a popular fishing place."
Given the change of seasons, Griffin isn't sure when weather will permit a full exploration of the area in question. In the meantime, he's hopeful that the Pueblo Police Department will consent to transferring investigation of the case to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which he believes has the kind of resources capable of solving the mystery once and for all.
Although Griffin has been on TV before (see his appearance on a San Diego news program below), the Nightline episode will expose his work to a national audience. Even so, he doesn't try to oversell himself.
"I never go into anything giving false hopes or promises," he says. "I'm human, so I'm not 100 percent accurate — and when I go on these searches and they don't come up with solid stuff, I get disappointed and question myself. But I think that's what helps me keep myself in check and stay balanced. And I know there are people like me out there who might be able to help."
Here's the aforementioned Griffin TV appearance, Sheya's endorsement and the 20/20 edition focusing on Kelsie Schelling.