“I don’t see any signs of my old self, I’ve changed so drastically in my personality, in everything, that I don’t even relate to who Laura used to be,” said Laura Saxton.
Saxton’s life changed forever on February 4th of 2013. Her daughter, Kelsie Schelling, disappeared. That night, Kelsie headed to Pueblo to visit her boyfriend, Donthe Lucas. Just that morning Schelling confirmed she was two months pregnant with their child.
“We know that she and Donthe met,” said Saxton. “He has admitted that they met, but what transpired after is where the lies begin and where the statements don’t match the physical evidence that we have.”
Saxton has made it clear she believes her daughter is dead. She claims Donthe Lucas is responsible and Pueblo police have botched the investigation. A lawsuit, filed earlier this year against the Lucas family, several police officers and the city of Pueblo, is pending.
Because the courts in our area don’t give someone the right to sue over a botched police investigation, a magistrate judge is recommending the case against the police officers be thrown out. Still, it gives insight into what Laura Saxton believes happened to her daughter.
In the lawsuit, Saxton states the last text message Kelsie ever sent was to Donthe Lucas at 12:32 in the morning on February 5, 2013 asking where he was and quote “complaining that she had been waiting for over an hour for him.”
According to the lawsuit, the next morning Donthe “withdrew $400 cash from the ATM” with Kelsie’s card.
The lawsuit claims Donthe then parked Kelsie’s car at the Walmart on West Northern Avenue in Pueblo. Video released by the Pueblo Police Department shows a person driving Kelsie’s car out of the Walmart parking lot. It was found more than a week later parked at St. Mary Corwin hospital.
Months later, Laura Saxton’s lawsuit claims a Pueblo landlord who was renting to Donthe’s mother found her apartment abandoned and trashed. When he went to replace the carpet, the lawsuit claims the bottom was “soaked” with what “appeared to be blood.”
11 News anchor Dianne Derby asked Pueblo Deputy Chief Mike Bennett about those claims. When asked if his department ever retrieved that carpet from the landlord Bennett replied, “That’s what I meant when I said there is some misinformation going around involved in this case. I’m aware of all of those tips, our detectives are aware of all of those tips. As I said, all tips that we are aware of have been followed up thoroughly.”
The lawsuit also claims Pueblo police did not search Lake Minnequa in Pueblo even after getting reports in person from a man fishing there that he had snagged his line on what appeared to be a body.
When asked if his department searched Lake Minnequa, Bennett replied, “I’m not at liberty to talk about that.”
Derby then asked Bennett if his officers or the department in any way searched Lake Minnequa since February of 2013.
Bennett replied, “Yes, we have followed up on every tip we have been made aware of.”
Bennett said the Schelling and Lucas families have been uncooperative.
Derby went to Donthe Lucas’ home in Pueblo and tried to talk to him in person. His grandmother would not talk on camera but said cadaver dogs searched her home twice.
“I don’t know how those people live with themselves, how they sleep at night,” said Saxton.
Without her daughter’s body, without answers about what happened to her, Saxton clings to memories.
“Her smile could light up a room, and her laugh would make everyone laugh and I miss hearing that,” said Saxton. “I’m scared of when I don’t remember what it sounded like.”
If you or anyone you know has information about the disappearance of Kelsie Schelling, please come forward. You can remain anonymous by calling Pueblo Crime Stoppers at 719-542-STOP (7867).