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Donthe Lucas charged with first-degree murder in Kelsie Schelling disappearance

Posted at 3:00 PM, Dec 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-02 00:49:43-05

PUEBLO, Colo. – Donthe Lucas, the boyfriend of Kelsie Schelling, who disappeared in 2013 while in Pueblo, has been charged with first-degree murder in Schelling’s disappearance, which officials are now calling a homicide.

The Pueblo Police Department and Colorado Bureau of Investigation announced the charges against Lucas Friday.

Lucas, 25, was already in custody in Pueblo on separate charges after he was arrested last month at Denver International Airport in a robbery and assault case when he was served with the new charges.

He is being held without bond for the time being.

Schelling's mother, Laura Saxton, confirmed to Denver7 that she'd been informed that Lucas had been charged, but said police still haven't found her daughter.

“I'm very glad that the D.A. saw that this was first-degree premeditated murder. I've thought that all along," Saxton told Denver7 reporter Jaclyn Allen over the phone. "We still have a long battle ahead of us for justice, and Kelsie has still not been found. He is still not giving her location. We will have to continue to carry on, and we have to bring her home."

A Pueblo police spokesman told Denver7 the department is confident in the charges it sent to the District Attorney's Office.

"They feel that they're comfortable with the evidence in hand, and that we had the probable cause to move forward with the arrest and prosecution," Capt. Kenny Rider said.

Police have searched multiple locations in the Pueblo area this year in relation to the case.

Schelling disappeared when she was 21 years old in February 2013. She was pregnant with Lucas’ child at the time.

The only trace left behind was her abandoned car, found four days later at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital. Her body has never been found.

"I think there is hope that we will find the body in the coming days, weeks or months," said Dan Corsentino, the former Pueblo County Sheriff, whom Kelsie's family hired as a private investigator early in the investigation. "It was difficult for law enforcement to penetrate the shroud of secrecy that existed within the Donthe Lucas family... I think it's highly possible a family member or someone close to Donthe could have turned."

Corsentino said several of Lucas' family members, including his sister and brother, have been arrested in recent weeks on unrelated charges, and he believes they may have more information about what happened to Schelling.

“I have no doubt that Donthe – her boyfriend, the father of her child – is responsible for her disappearance,” Schelling's mother told Denver7 earlier this year. “I can’t sleep at night. I hope he can’t either.”

Lucas has long been considered a suspect in the case but he has never been convicted on any charges. Investigators were at his home in April searching for evidence, but it’s not known what was found.

The Pueblo Police Department said it couldn't release further information about the case Friday, and that the affidavit in the case was sealed.

“Because the investigation remains active, details about the investigation and what led to the arrest of Lucas cannot be released at this time,” the department said.

Court records did not list an attorney for Lucas in the case.