Trial for suspect in Kelsie Schelling disappearance pushed back nearly 4 months

Kelsie Schelling pictured on the left with her mom on the right
By  | 

PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - The trial for the man accused of killing a pregnant woman and discarding her body six years ago has been postponed.

That decision by a judge Thursday pushes the trial date for Donthe Lucas from April 2 to July 30, further prolonging the years-long search for justice in the Kelsie Schelling case.

Monday marked six years since she was last seen. Her whereabouts remain unknown, but Pueblo authorities believe Lucas killed her. The reward for any information leading to Schelling's location has been upped to $100,000.

The family shared a "Virtual Prayer Vigil" on YouTube and is asking the public to take part.

Kelsie went missing while reportedly on her way from Denver to Pueblo to see boyfriend Donthe Lucas on Feb. 4, 2013. She was eight weeks pregnant at the time.

A body has yet to be found. Authorities believe she was killed by Lucas.

Lucas is facing murder charges in the Schelling disappearance. Lucas pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in a Pueblo court on Aug. 28, 2018. He has since filed a motion claiming Schelling's father killed her.

In May of 2018, a judge decided there was enough probable cause to hold a trial for Lucas. According to two officers who testified against Lucas, Lucas is the only person to admit to seeing Schelling on Feb. 5, 2013. No other person has reported seeing Schelling after Feb. 4, 2013.

Chad Sinnema with the Denver Police Department said Lucas allegedly told him that he had gone to Parkview Medical Center with Schelling on Feb. 4, 2013, where she learned she was no longer pregnant. Schelling dropped Lucas off on the morning of Feb. 5 and it was the last time he saw her, Sinnema said Lucas told him.

Detective Ted Binet, also with the Denver Police Department, said Lucas told him a different story. Binet told the courtroom that according to Donthe, Schelling came to Pueblo to see a doctor about her pregnancy. Lucas told police they parked in the Walmart parking lot on the city's south side but got in a fight and Schelling kicked him out.

Binet said Lucas told him 10 a.m. on Feb. 5, 2013 was the last time he saw Schelling -- several hours later than the 3-5 a.m. timeframe Lucas told Sinnema.

Text messages on Lucas' phone revealed he texted Schelling that he had a surprise for her and to come to Pueblo.

Messages on Schelling's phone showed she texted him she was pregnant, and the messages indicated Lucas was unhappy. GPS on her phone showed it traveled to the same location in Pueblo as Donthe's phone -- and did not show her ever visiting Parkview.

Parkview had no record of Donthe ever being treated there.

Police said in court Donthe took $400 out of Kelsie's account at 11:37 a.m. Feb. 5, 2013. Donthe was believed to be caught on surveillance footage driving Kelsie's car after she disappeared that same morning.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation started to get involved in 2016 and the search for Kelsie was reignited.

Law enforcement announced in April of 2017 they had new leads. Police didn't share what those leads were with the public. At one point, authorities dug up the backyard of a home belonging to Lucas' grandmother, where he had once lived.

Lucas was arrested in November of 2017 at the Denver International Airport for a separate case involving a robbery that happened in September of 2017. Soon after, he was facing charges for Kelsie's alleged murder.

The reward will double to $100,000 for information leading to Kelsie in the month of February. Schelling's family tells 11 News they are offering the money themselves, with no help from an outside agency.

-Pueblo Police Department at 719-553-2502
-Pueblo Crime Stoppers at 719-534-STOP (7867)
-CBI 303-813-5700