After days, weeks, years and even decades, families with missing loved ones manage to keep hope alive.
A group gathered at the Lowry Conference Center Saturday to support each other and meet with law enforcement for the second annual Missing in Colorado event.
“As law enforcement, we want to do whatever we can to ensure that we haven’t overlooked anything and to let [families] know that their loved ones are not forgotten,” said Audrey Simkins, a supervisory analyst for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
The Longmont Department of Public Safety partnered with CBI to host the event. Family and friends with missing loved ones had the chance to meet with investigators, share photos, medical records and DNA. They could also enter their loved one’s information into a national database.
“An event like this means a lot,” Laura Saxton said. “Coming here, you just realize that there’s a lot more resources out there that maybe could be utilized.”
Saxton’s daughter, Kelsie Schelling, has been missing since February 4, 2013. She was eight weeks pregnant when she made the drive to Denver to Pueblo to visit her boyfriend.
“That was the last time she was seen or heard from,” Saxton said.
Schelling’s boyfriend, Donthe Lucas, was named a person of interest in the case. In April, authorities searched the backyard of his home in Pueblo. No arrests have been made.
“Kelsie’s still missing and we’re still looking for her,” Saxton said.
Living day to day with a missing loved one can be a lonely experience, Saxton said. She felt comfortable meeting with other families at the Missing in Colorado event and sharing stories about Kelsie.
“We can cry, we can talk, we can do whatever we want and we’re accepted and not judged,” Saxton said.
Families were hopeful Saturday’s event might develop new leads and ease the pain of not knowing what happened to a loved one.
“It doesn’t go away ever,” Saxton said. “[Kelsie] never leaves my thoughts.”