Authorities are investigating whether human remains found in Missoula, Montana belong to the Skelton brothers who vanished from Morenci, Michigan during a Thanksgiving holiday visit with their father in 2010. The remains, determined to be from children, are now undergoing forensic testing to uncover their origin.
Seven years ago, Tanner, 5, Alexander, 7, and Andrew Skelton, 9, were visiting their father, John Skelton, for Thanksgiving when they disappeared. They have not been seen or heard from since.
A search warrant posted on the KTMF TV website states that in September of this year, a rental property cleaning crew found a box containing human bones and teeth. After authorities examined the box’s contents, it was determined the remains belonged to three children around the same age as the Skelton brothers when they vanished.
Kristen Green, a University of Montana anthropology professor, found that one child was between 5 and 8 at death; another was around 6- to 10-years-old; and the third child was between 2 and 4 at the time of death, according to the warrant. She also determined the teeth and bones were “modern and not archaeological.”
Michigan State Police First Lt. Michael Shaw told USA Today his agency was communicating with authorities in Missoula about the remains and whether there may be a possible Skelton brothers connection.
Missoula Police spokesperson Sgt. Travis Welch told KPAX News that among the remains found were “loose teeth” and “bone from a lower jaw…” Rocks were also in the box, according to Welch.
Authorities say there is no known link between the Skelton brothers and Montana at present.
In 2010, one day after the Skelton brothers spent Thanksgiving day with their father, their mother, Tanya Zuvers, called police saying her ex-husband, John Skelton, had not returned her sons to her as scheduled, according to WTOL. An exhaustive search for the young siblings took place, however, no trace of them was found.
BREAKING: Michigan State Police reach out to Montana authorities after bodies of three dead children were found in a shed, possible providing a break in the case of the missing Skelton brothers - https://t.co/JvY1kLC9jT pic.twitter.com/Kpdg1aLl05— WTOL 11 (@WTOL11Toledo) December 14, 2017
Not long after, Skelton was arrested and charged with kidnapping.
In December 2010, during a court hearing, Skelton said he gave his sons to someone visiting his home on Thanksgiving. He said this person was with an organization that was going to protect the children, claiming the brothers were being abused by their mother, according to CBS Detroit. Zuvers denies Skelton’s assertion and has said she is “heartbroken” her boys have never been found.
In July 2011, Skelton accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to prison for 10 to 15 years for unlawful imprisonment. He appealed his conviction in 2012, but the appeal was denied.
Skelton’s first opportunity for parole is just two years from now, in 2020.
Anyone with information about the Skelton brothers’ case is asked to contact police at 517-636-0689 or submit a tip online at michigan.gov/michtip.