Families find aid, empathy at event
Organizations give those seeking kin reasons for hope.
Kelsie Schelling went to visit her boyfriend in Pueblo after he asked her to come down from Denver. She never returned. Years later, her family is still looking for her.
Schelling was 19 years old and eight weeks’ pregnant when she went missing Feb. 4, 2013, said her mother, Laura Saxton. She had driven down to Pueblo to meet her boyfriend, Donthe Lucas, and show him an ultrasound.
Lucas has been called a person of interest in the case.
Schelling was spirited and strong-willed and had a contagious laugh. She also had beautiful eyes and a beautiful smile, Saxton said.
“We just want to find her,” she said. “We’re not giving up on finding her even though we’re getting close to five years.”
The Saxtons and other families Saturday attended “Missing in Colorado,” an event hosted by the Longmont Department of Public Safety and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The event gave families resources and the opportunity to meet with others in similar situations.
Crime Stoppers, the Boulder Coroner’s Office, Colorado Forensic Canines, Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons, and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System were among the participating organizations.
FOHVAMP analyzes cases and gives families suggestions on what to do next. Namus is a database for both families and law enforcement to put up information about missing people that can be cross referenced against one another. Colorado Forensic Canines will aid in missingperson and cold cases for free.
Binders of information on some unidentified remains were available for people to see whether they matched their loved ones. Artists who make clay sculptures and sketches based on remains were also present. There was a luncheon reserved for just families so people can lend support to one another.
Beyond resources and support, the event was also to remind people that there are many people missing in Colorado, CBI analyst Audrey Simkins said.
A majority of missing-person reports involve runaways who return within days, she said.
“It’s those that don’t return who we need to focus our attention on,” she said.
Some families have loved ones who disappeared this year, she said. Others have had loved ones missing for 10 to 30 years.
This event was an opportunity for them to learn from one another.
As time goes on, people forget about those who have gone missing, Saxton said. She was glad “Missing in Colorado” and Colorado Missing Persons Day (Feb. 4), both in their second years, “give the family at least two days in the year for their loved ones to be remembered.”