Fam­i­lies find aid, em­pa­thy at event

Or­ga­ni­za­tions give those seek­ing kin rea­sons for hope.

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Danika Wor­thing­ton

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.”

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