Kelsie Schelling’s family launches alert system for missing teens

PUEBLO, Colo. — The family of Kelsie Schelling, a Pueblo woman who has been missing since 2013, has launched a new system to help find missing kids in Pueblo.

The family’s goal is to make sure all missing teen cases end with the teen being found safe. It’s an outcome the Schelling family never saw, but one they are hoping to bring to others.

“It seems like the last few months, we’ve a number young people that have run away in Pueblo,” said Jenny Paulson, a Pueblo resident who helped put together the Kelsie Alert program.

There were 20,500 cases of missing children in 2016, according to National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Of those, 90 percent were endangered runaways.

“From my experience the longer the person is missing, the harder it is to locate them. So the time is of the essence,” said Pueblo Police Capt. Kenny Rider.

Rider said in missing person cases, it’s all about getting the word out. That’s why Schelling’s mother, Laura Saxton, and supporters started a new website.

“Our main goal is to prevent another Kelsie from happening,” said Paulson. “She’s taking her hurt to help others.”

Schelling went missing in 2013. Neither she nor a suspect in her disappearance has been found.

Schelling’s case is still open, with many unanswered questions.

“When someone goes missing, time is of the essence,” Saxton, who no longer lives in the area, said in a statement. “The community as a whole needs to be on the lookout for the missing person, or anything that appears to be suspicious in nature. There are Amber Alerts for abducted children. There are Silver Alerts for the missing who are elderly. There is no alert system for those who are not included in either of those categories. The pain for the families of missing persons is the same, no matter what the circumstance of the disappearance is. I believe anything we can do to get the word out is very important. If even one person is found, or one family is saved from suffering, then it is worth the effort.​”

The website, which just launched this week, had already seen a positive outcome. One 13-year-old girl that was missing for two weeks was found the night the website launched.

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