PUEBLO, CO (KDVR/CNN) – As investigators follow new leads in the case of a pregnant woman who disappeared in 2013, they have charged the woman’s ex-boyfriend with first-degree murder.
The suspect, 25-year-old Donthe Isiah Lucas, was already in custody at the Pueblo County Detention Center on unrelated charges. He is being held without bond in the case.
A new search began in November in the cold case of 21-year-old Kelsie Schelling, who was eight-weeks pregnant when she disappeared from Pueblo, CO, in 2013. She is believed dead.
The investigation and search for Schelling's remains reopened because of recent leads.
Investigators used excavators to dig near where Schelling was last known to be, including a Walmart where she was last seen in February 2013.
“I haven’t heard her laugh for so long, and I haven’t heard my own laugh for so long,” said Schelling’s mother Laura Saxton.
Saxton says her daughter disappeared shortly after texting Lucas a photo of her ultrasound.
After texting the photo, Schelling made a two-hour drive from Denver to Pueblo to meet Lucas at his request. She arrived at the Walmart just after 11 p.m., and nearly an hour later, she texted that she was “tired of waiting.”
Lucas asked her to meet on a street near his grandmother’s house. A half hour later, she wrote: “Where are you… I’ve been here for over an hour just waiting.”
Schelling was never heard from again.
After almost five years, Schelling’s family sees the recent developments as reason for hope.
“It’s obviously something that we’ve fought for for a very long time,” Saxton said. “We’re going to keep searching for her.”
Dan Corsentino, a private investigator hired by Schelling’s family in 2013, interviewed Lucas and believes he didn’t act alone. He says the case has been challenging because of the lack of physical evidence and the fact that Schelling’s remains have not been found.
Schelling’s family is offering a $50,000 reward for anyone who comes forward with information that leads to her remains.
Copyright 2017 KDVR, Family photos, Pueblo County Detention Center via CNN. All rights reserved.