Brothers Vanished in 2010. Box May Hold Clues to Their Fate

Police trying to determine if box of remains found in Montana could be tied to missing Skelton brothers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2017 6:13 AM CST
Updated Dec 17, 2017 3:00 PM CST
Possible Big Break in Case of Brothers Missing Since 2010
This combination file photo made with undated photos shows, from left, Alexander Skelton, 7, Andrew Skelton, 9, and Tanner Skelton, 5.   (AP Photo/National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, File)

Three Michigan brothers went missing under odd circumstances in 2010, and now a box of remains in Montana may offer closure on their fate. Per, Michigan State Police are exploring whether there's a tie between the disappearance of the Skelton brothers—9-year-old Andrew, 7-year-old Alexander, and 5-year-old Tanner—and a box found in September by cleaning staff in a Missoula home's shed. Inside the box: the teeth and bones of three children, NBC Montana reports. Testing determined the ages of the deceased children were 2 to 4 years old, 5 to 8 years old, and 6 to 10 years old, though it wasn't noted when they died. Montana's State Crime Lab has now sent the remains to the University of North Texas for DNA testing to see if they're related and to see if a link can be made with any children in a national database for missing persons.

The last time anyone saw the Skelton boys was Thanksgiving Day in 2010, when they were in their father's backyard. At the time the boys vanished, John Skelton said he'd given the boys to an unnamed sanctuary group to protect them from his ex-wife. The cops believe he killed them, and in September 2011, Skelton was convicted of unlawful imprisonment and sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison. Police say there's a "person of interest" in the case, which is being investigated as a possible homicide, per a search warrant shown on ABCFOX; the box was found by a cleaning crew after the home's tenant had been evicted. The one roadblock to the DNA testing: The bones are so tiny that it may be too difficult to draw the DNA out. "It may not be the answer we want, but it would just enable the family to have some closure," a friend of the boys' mother, Tanya Zuvers, tells the Detroit Free Press. (More missing persons stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.