When asked if Skelton was a suspect in his sons' disappearance, Weeks said, "We haven't ruled anything out yet."

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The boys were last seen Thursday and reported missing the next day by their mother, Tanya Skelton, Weeks said. A family friend said the boys were with their father as part of court-ordered visitation and their parents were going through a divorce.

About 200 people gathered for a prayer vigil at a church in Morenci, a small, mostly blue-collar and farming community just north of the Ohio state line. Lights were strung on poles along the town's main street, and festive decorations adorned windows in some of the shops and eateries in town.

Friends said the Skelton boys also started celebrating the holidays early by making greeting cards. One of the older brothers wrote "Jesus is awesome" on his card and drew a Nativity scene, said Kathye Herrera, a friend of Tanya Skelton who is serving as the family's spokeswoman.

"They love church. They love the interaction, and they know all about Jesus," Herrera said.

Herrera said the boys' parents have been married for 10.

Herrera said Tanya Skelton attends a local college or community college and John Skelton was a long-haul truck driver who hasn't worked in awhile.

VIEW:Tanya Skelton's Offender Detail.