Donthe Lucas Arrested in Denver — but Not for Missing Kelsie Schelling Case

A past booking photo of Donthe Lucas.
A past booking photo of Donthe Lucas. Pueblo County Sheriff's Office
Last week, authorities in Pueblo conducted a new series of searches in the case of Kelsie Schelling, a onetime resident of Denver (she lived in the Larimer Square area) who vanished more than four years ago after heading south to tell her boyfriend, Donthe Lucas, that she was pregnant. The searches focused on locations associated with Lucas, a person of interest in Schelling's disappearance, and while they turned up no new evidence linking him to the disappearance, he was arrested days later at Denver International Airport for an unrelated robbery case — although one commenter on the Help Find Kelsie Facebook page saw a connection anyhow.

"He’s showing his true is his family, trying to protect him from the consequences of his actions once more," the post reads.

The Lucas arrest affidavit is accessible below.

As we've reported, Schelling was last seen on February 4, 2013, when she was 21. About ten days after Schelling went missing, her car, a Chevrolet Cruze, was located in the parking lot of St. Mary-Corwin hospital in Pueblo.

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 concerning, the images depict a male getting into the car and driving it away.

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, Lucas.

According to Laura Saxton, Schelling's mother, her daughter got confirmation of her pregnancy on the day she vanished. Doctor's records show that she was eight weeks pregnant, with the presumed father being 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.

click to enlarge A portrait of Kelsie Schelling. - FACEBOOK
A portrait of Kelsie Schelling.
According to Saxton, "We know that Kelsie made it to Pueblo and did meet up with Donthe. No one has seen or heard from her since."

Lucas has never been charged in the case, but he's continued to be a focus of the investigation, which began heating up again this year. In April, for instance, the back yard of his former residence, at 5113 Manor Ridge Drive, was excavated by a team from the Pueblo Police Department, with spokespersons saying items of evidentiary value were unearthed. Weeks later, crews dug up a field not far from the residence as well; in that instance, nothing new related to Schelling's disappearance was found.

Then, at 6:25 a.m. on June 16, members of the Pueblo Fire Department responded to reports of a fire at the home, which is no longer occupied by members of the Lucas family. Afterward, the matter was handed over to the Pueblo Police Department, which noted in a release that "we're investigating the fire as a possible arson. At this point, there is nothing to suggest that the fire is connected with the Kelsie Schelling case, but we are not ruling out anything until the investigation is complete."

On November 7, the new round of searches was announced. At the end of three days, no stunning new clues were uncovered. Optimism sparked on Friday, November 10, when a dog that was being used to hunt for forensic data alerted in an area near the confluence of Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River. However, the remains turned out to be that of an animal.

In regard to the aforementioned affidavit, its narrative begins at 7:38 p.m. on September 1, when a Pueblo police officer was dispatched to 424 Madison Drive on a report of an armed robbery. There, the officer spoke with Jeff Sanchez, who had "visible injuries to his face and head," including "severe swelling to the right side of his face and eye" and "swelling on his lip and the left side of his face."

According to the document, Sanchez said he'd gone to a residence at 1109 Mesa Avenue in Pueblo to visit a friend known as "June Bug." As he was arriving, "three black males and a black female ran out of the house," and in response to his inquiries about June Bug, one of the men allegedly attacked him. Meanwhile, Sanchez accused the female of reaching into his car and swiping $1,000 from the center console of the vehicle.

A Facebook photo of Donthe Lucas during his days playing basketball for Northeastern Junior College. - FACEBOOK
A Facebook photo of Donthe Lucas during his days playing basketball for Northeastern Junior College.
The Mesa address was well known to the cops as Lucas's current home. An excerpt from the affidavit reads: "The entire Lucas family has been contacted at 1109 Mesa Avenue numerous times in the past, and it is widely known that they live at the residence."

Sanchez subsequently picked an image of Donthe from a photo lineup and identified him as the person who'd assaulted him.

On Monday, November 13, three days after the latest search for Schelling concluded, an arrest warrant for Lucas was issued, and that day, he was taken into custody at DIA. During a subsequent interview, Lucas said Sanchez had been harassing his mother, Sara Lucas, and directed "racial slurs" at her. In response, he said, he put Sanchez in a headlock and began pummeling him. "Donthe admitted he probably went too far," the report states. "Donthe said he hit Sanchez three times when one punch probably would have sufficed."

At the same time, Lucas maintained that he hadn't stolen anything from Sanchez or seen anyone else do so. But detectives concluded that there was probable cause for his arrest on an aggravated robbery charge anyhow.

The Help Find Kelsie page shared information about the Lucas bust along with the following line: "We are stressing this is not tied to the disappearance of Kelsie Schelling." At this writing, Lucas is reportedly awaiting extradition to Pueblo.

Click to read the Donthe Lucas arrest affidavit.
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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