Cold Case Michigan: The Skelton Brothers
Thanksgiving is a grim reminder of the disappearance of three Michigan brothers who spent the holiday with their father in 2010 and have never been seen since.
The Skelton brothers were only 9, 7, and 5 years old when they went missing from Morenci, Michigan, on November 25, 2010. The boy's parents had separated and their mother, Tanya, had filed for divorce from John Russell Skelton in September of that year. Tanya had custody of the boys.
The divorce and separation of the boy's parents were contentious, with many accusations flying between the two. November 26, 2010, John picked up the boys for a court-ordered visit. It was the last time Andrew, Alexander, and Tanner Skelton were seen by their mother and the rest of their family.
John has given many conflicting explanations over the years but police say none of it adds up. John has maintained he never hurt the boys.
The last sighting of the boys was Thanksgiving Day in 2010. The boys were seen playing in their father's backyard in southern Lenawee County. John Skelton's phone was traced to Ohio the following day.
John's story has changed many times, implicating others who have voluntarily stepped forward to deny any involvement. One of John's claims is that he handed the boys off to an underground network, possibly tied to the Amish community. At the time of the boy's disappearance, John was driving a blue 2000 Dodge Caravan. Investigators still hope that witnesses come forward that may have seen something that morning.
John Skelton was sentenced in 2011 to 10-15 years in prison on three counts of unlawful imprisonment in the disappearance of his three sons. He claims he gave the boys to an underground group in order to keep them safe from abuse.
Skelton was up for parole this year but was denied in July. A Michigan Department of Corrections parole board denied parole because they consider him to be a continued risk to the community. John remains incarcerated in the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan.
His next chance at parole comes next year and each following year until 2025, when his sentence ends on November 29th of that year.
HLN recently featured the case on its original series "Real Life Nightmare". Investigators hope the national exposure will jog the memory of potential witnesses that may hold the final piece of the puzzle to solve this decade long mystery.
If you have information on the disappearance of Andrew, Alexander, and Tanner Skelton, you are asked to contact Michigan State Police at 1-517-636-0689.