‘This never gets easier’ -- Mother of Skelton boys speaks out on 10-year anniversary

Andrew, Alexander, Tanner Skelton went missing 10 years ago Thursday

'This never gets easier': Mother of Skelton boys speaks out on 10 year anniversary

MORENCI, Mich. – The investigation into the Skelton boys disappearance continues with age-progression photos of Andrew, Alexander and Tanner.

The photos were released Wednesday, 10 years since they disappeared with their father.

The story of the missing Skelton brothers: Click here to listen to the “Shattered: Black Friday” podcast.

“Because we don’t have answers, no, this never gets easier,” said Tanya Zuvers.

John Skelton, the father of Andrew, Alexander and Tanner, was supposed to return the boys to their mother on Black Friday, Nov. 26, 2010. He had spent time with the boys for the Thanksgiving holiday.

When Zuvers couldn’t get straight answers from John on where the boys were, she got worried. John claimed to have given the boys to an underground group to keep them safe from her, who he claimed was abusive to the boys. John’s story about the underground group and the mother hurting the child wasn’t verified.

“This is not a case of everyone hates John Skelton,” said Det. Lt. Jeremy Brewer. “We just want to find these boys.”

Brewer, who now works undercover and won’t show his face, said John Skelton is still holding back key information and they’re only able to work with what they have.

“We can’t create evidence and we’re not going to,” Brewer said. “We’re reactive as to what is presented to us.”

You can watch Sandra Ali’s full story in the video above.

When Tanya Zuvers thinks of her children and what she’s missed, it breaks her heart.

She’s missed their formative years, and while many are willing to believe that the worst has happened to the boys, she won’t let herself go there:

“There’s still that 1% chance that they could come to knock on my door,” Zuvers said. “But, we’ve kind of adapted. The slogan for 10 years is ‘Keeping hope alive 10 years later.’”

Lead investigator Brewer said solving this case could be a simple as getting one missing piece of information, and hunters may be in a good position to help:

“Anything you might find in the woods, if it’s kid’s clothes, if it’s toys, if it’s anything that possibly could be related, please just call and let us know,” Brewer said.

John Skelton was up for parole in September. He was denied. Zuvers said it’s unnerving to think that he could get out of prison.

“I always have maintained that he’s not going to get his parole,” Zuvers said. “But there’s always that little nag that says, ‘but what if?’ So, when the letter came, it was a huge relief.”

He will be up for parole again in two years. And that might be the end of his time behind bars:

“It’s a very different feeling. Contemplating, in the next year or two, he probably will be out,” Brewer said. “We still have all the resources available to us. When we get tips that come in, and when we have things that we feel like are worth looking at, we still are doing that just like it just happened.”

John Skelton, 10-years-later, is still the only one who knows what happened to the boys.

“I was not raised to dislike or hate and that’s such a strong word, but I hate him. I hate him for what he did to our sons,” Zuvers said. “You just want to scream, ‘Tell the truth! Be a man. Grow up! Quit hiding behind your lies.’ Life is not all about John Skelton. We’re talking about three innocent children.”

Anyone with information about the case or the boys’ whereabouts is asked to call Michigan State Police at 1-517-636-0689 or the NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST.

“The age progressions are always the hardest for me,” Tennille McCain, the boys’ aunt, said. “In my mind, I still see them as 5, 7 and 9. Their faces are etched in my mind. I just wish answers could be given. Anyone who potentially knows anything -- and I believe more than one person knows something. I believe that it’s not just John who has the answers -- could find it in themselves to come forward.”

Anyone with information about the case or the boys’ whereabouts is asked to call Michigan State Police at 1-517-636-0689 or the NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST.

Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton. (WDIV)

About the Authors:

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.