May 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

Family clings to hope for Morenci brothers

Boys last seen at their father's home 30 months ago

Volunteers search the Morenci area in November 2010 for three brothers. There’s a Facebook page and website to generate tips. (David Coates / The Detroit News)

This weekend, nearly 30 months to the day after three young brothers vanished from a tiny town near the Ohio border, relatives plan to pass out fliers at area truck stops and campgrounds, hoping they will lead to their whereabouts.

"Some people who never even heard of the cases — it makes them aware," said Tennille McCain, the boys' aunt.

Tanner Skelton, 7; Alexander Skelton, 9, and Andrew Skelton, 11, were last seen at their father's Morenci home in November 2010.

John Skelton first claimed he gave the boys to an organization, but has told police conflicting stories.

Serving a 10- to 15-year prison term after pleading no contest to unlawful imprisonment, Skelton refuses to reveal his sons' whereabouts.

Although authorities now investigate the case as a homicide, relatives believe the boys are missing. To help find them, they formed an awareness group, created a Facebook page and recently launched a website seeking tips nationwide. There's also a privately funded reward of up to $60,000.

News of the three women found in Cleveland after years in captivity has buoyed relatives.

"I just hope that our story has its happy ending," said Tanya Zuvers, the boys' mother. "I'd like that happy ending to happen today. But whenever we can get it, that's what I want."

More than two years after the boys disappeared, their family remains committed to reminding the public about the case.

Around the anniversary last year, an awareness event was held at Morenci's Wakefield Park, where three commemorative maple trees were planted.

Relatives also were interviewed for an upcoming episode of "John Walsh Investigates," a Lifetime program with the host of "America's Most Wanted."

Generating interest, they said, could lead to answers for which they yearn.

"It could be the smallest thing that could crack this case wide open," McCain said. "Hope, that's what we have to keep holding on to. There are miracles that happen out there."

Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks said more than 1,300 tips have poured in, but "nothing concrete has come from them."

Still, the case is active.

Until the mystery is solved, Zuvers devotes much of her free time to the search.

But she struggles to live without her sons. "They were my morning, noon and night," she said. "It was all ripped out in just a second."

mhicks@detroitnews.com

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Andrew
Tanner
Alexander