Family seeks answers 8 years after Skelton brothers' disappearance

By Sandra Ali - Anchor/Reporter, Kayla Clarke

MORENCI, Mich. - Eight years ago, the Skelton brothers Tanner, Andrew and Alexander vanished.

Their father said he gave them to an underground group but years have gone by with no signs of the boys or the group he spoke of.

John Skelton's story has changed over the years, and his only supporters -- his family -- have stuck with him. But that support might be fading.

John Skelton is serving time for an unlawful imprisonment charge.

Shattered: Black Friday

Over this last summer John Skelton Sr., his wife Roxanne and daughter Lucinda went to visit the boys' father in prison. After that visit they said they would never go back. Skelton Sr. said he feels his son is not sharing everything he knows about the boys' disappearance.

"He's hiding information," the older Skelton said. "Well, I'm not gonna say he's not telling the truth. I think he's telling the truth, but the whole truth -- the whole story of things concerned -- he's hiding."

That attitude is much different than Skelton Sr.'s back when Local 4 first visited the family at their home in Jacksonville in October of last year.

"I don't care how drastic things could have gotten in his mind, he would have not hurt the boys," Skelton Sr. said in 2017.

"There were things -- bits and pieces -- I'd heard in the past, but when you sit back and objectively look at what he is saying and some of these other pieces that happened that might've been strictly coincidental to this particular situation, but he wasn't aware that they happened," Skelton Sr. said now. 

"And I says, 'OK, I'm gonna put together my pitch to him,' and I did I voiced my opinions and things back and forth and basically I told him, 'It's time to put the whole story out there, not just bits and pieces that are probably the truth, perceived to be the truth, but you've gotta put the whole story out there and then 'til that happens, and Mr. Brewer (Jeremy Brewer) and I are up here to see you make that happen, I probably won't see you again,'" Skelton Sr. said. "I guess the last visit she had with him, his sister left there too and the sister, Lou, she kinda, I guess, walked out on him also."

"He's stubborn in some respects and I think he's scared in other respects, and he wasn't gonna open up to me, the other things about it, which if he had I think we could've cleared up a lot of things and gotten a lot of extra help but he wasn't ready to do it at that point," Skelton Sr. said. "When I walked out the room, I guess he kind of started to break down a little bit about the whole thing."

"I think I will end up talking to him again, if the conditions are right and he's come to his senses and is willing to do what I think is gonna have to be done on this whole situation and then I will be there with the state officials and we will sit down as a conference and go from there," Skelton Sr. said

"At the end of the day this case is very simple," said Jeremy Brewer. "John was their dad. He was with them the night that they went missing and whatever we can do to make him feel comfortable I'm willing to do it."

Again, Michigan State Police are asking for your help in this case. There is a $60,000 reward being offered for information that helps authorities find Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton.

The earliest John could be released is November 2020.

Copyright 2018 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.