PUEBLO, Colo. - An FBI agent revealed Friday during testimony in Pueblo that there was a four-hour window during which the cellphones of missing Kelsie Schelling and her boyfriend, Donthe Lucas, couldn't be traced.
Special Agent Scott Eicher testified for the prosecution in the second day of Lucas' preliminary hearing.
Eicher is a cellular analyst who tracked the movement and usage of calls and texts between the couple.Cellphone towers provide tracking information, he said, but that information wasn't available during the four-hour period in early February 2013 between the last time Schelling and Lucas saw each other, and Schelling's disappearance.
"I always had concern about that because you wonder how far out of Pueblo someone could have driven Kelsie in a four-hour period," said her mother, Laura Saxton.
Eicher said Schelling and Lucas were in frequent contact from the time she left Denver to visit him on the night of Feb. 4, until the following morning.
After that, Eicher said the frequency of contact gradually decreased until Schelling's phone was apparently turned off on the morning of Feb. 7, near the Walmart where Lucas said he last saw her.
Eicher also said there is no evidence to show the couple's phones were at Parkview Medical Center, where Lucas said he took Schelling to get a checkup on the status of her eight-week pregnancy.
Just before the lunch break, the prosecution called its last witness -- Kevin Torres, a Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent who was part of the Schelling probe.
Torres testified that he believes Lucas strangled Schelling at one of his former residences but added that there's no physical evidence yet to prove it. He also said Lucas made incriminating statements to a friend about murdering Schelling.
"He said he had gotten rid of her," Torres said. "He said he had tarped her up (wrapped her body in a tarp) and thrown it into the (Arkansas) River. Then he told (the friend) to not tell anyone because he and his family don't mess around."Torres said Lucas also ridiculed the role of Pueblo police in the investigation.
"He told (the friend) that the police are stupid, and that they're looking in the wrong place," Torres said of Lucas.
Defense attorneys cross-examined Torres for more than hour, and questioned Torres about his admission that he lied to some interview subjects "in order to find the truth" about Schelling's disappearance.
At about 4 p.m. Friday, the hearing finished for the day. The hearing will resume at 2:30 p.m. Thursday for closing statements, and Judge Thomas Flesher will then decide whether enough evidence exists for Lucas to stand trial for murder.
Because of the length of this week's hearing, a second hearing on a robbery charge against Lucas has been rescheduled to next Thursday.
KRDO NewsChannel 13 also has learned that a relative of Lucas, either his mother or grandmother, will appear in court next month for a deposition in the case.
Day two of the preliminary hearing for Donthe Lucas, 25, began with a look at his and Kelsie Schelling's phone activity around the time of her disappearance.
Schelling disappeared in February 2013 in Pueblo. Lucas was charged with first-degree murder in December in the case, even though the body of Schelling, 21, or a murder weapon haven't been found.
Lucas and Schelling had been dating and Lucas is believed to have been the father of her unborn baby. According to court testimony, she was eight weeks pregnant when she disappeared.
Prosecutors look at phone activity
Prosecutors called an FBI cellular analyst to the stand. The analyst studied the usage and movement of Schelling's and Lucas' phone.
The last call from Schelling's phone was on the morning of February 7 near the Walmart she was last seen with Lucas.
However, call activity between the two had declined since the morning of Feb. 5.
KRDO is waiting for the defense to cross-examine the FBI analyst and will bring you updates.
Click here for a breakdown from day one of the preliminary hearing.