6 months since Morenci boys disappeared, hope turns to agony
It has been six months since the young Morenci brothers disappeared.
The home where they were with their father, John Skelton, before they disappeared has been in foreclosure, and Tanya Skelton, the boys' mother, said a judge gave her authority to sell it for what's owed.
After her sons went missing, Tanya Skelton said, she discovered much of the property in the home was destroyed. Cords were cut off appliances, Christmas decorations were broken and a china cabinet John Skelton bought when they purchased the home was smashed.
John Skelton remains in jail, charged in his sons' disappearance.
Disappearance of brothers lingers on Morenci residents' minds
It has been six months since Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton -- ages 9, 7 and 5, respectively -- went missing. They were last seen in the custody of their father, John Skelton, who is facing kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment charges. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison on the kidnapping charges.
But a dark cloud lingers over this small town.
Police encourage more searches
In February, Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks called the case a murder investigation.
Weeks said he couldn't comment on the details of the case, but he said more than 1,000 tips have been logged. Weeks said each tip is assessed and vetted -- from sightings to psychics, including mediums or people having visions or dreams.
Earlier this month, he said he's been doing case preparation, and Skelton has a court hearing coming up in early June.
Tanya Skelton, the boys' mother, said Wednesday she was comforted to find out a boy's body found along a rural road in Maine was not one of her sons. Some thought a computer-generated image released by authorities resembled Tanner, but Tanya Skelton said authorities told her that her DNA was not a match.
This week, a case in Maine sparked attention locally.
Time is the enemy as mom seeks answers
John Skelton has told police his sons are with an organization, which police have said they haven't been able to locate. The boys were in his custody when they disappeared.
Town not willing to give up on the boys
Missing persons signs still hang all over. At a pizza shop on Main Street, on a sign just inside the front door, was penned: "Keep the boys in your prayers! Andrew, Alex and Tanner." At a hair salon, three electric candles burned in the window.
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Tanya Skelton said she has received support from the community and her family. Recently, she received gifts for Mother's Day. In March, thousands of dollars were raised at a fund-raiser for the Skelton Brothers Reward Fund.