Shattered podcast | Black Friday, Ep6 | 'A Simpler Story'

Shattered: Black Friday is a 10-episode podcast investigating the disappearance of the Skelton Brothers from their home in Morenci, Michigan on Nov. 26, 2010. Episode 6 investigates one far-flunged theory: John Skelton left the boys with an Amish family. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Stitcher, Google Play, or through the player below. If you have any information about this case call lead investigator Jeremy Brewer at (517) 636-0689. If you want to reach Jeremy and the Shattered staff email:

I wanted to find an Amish community near the route John Skelton took on his Black Friday morning drive -- the one that showed his cell phone in locations between his home in Morenci and Holiday City, Ohio, but that wasn’t happening. There wasn’t a centralized community.  

Also, John claimed to have given the boys to a group that he met at JD’s Truck Stop in Niles, Michigan, which is way west, like across the state and north of South Bend, Indiana west. I settled on somewhere in the middle – Hillsdale, Michigan. Hillsdale County is home to two settlements and many families.  

I’ve read, watched and tried to learn everything I can about Amish people. I know the basics, but I had to see their world for myself to learn more. And, I wanted to find out if John's claim that he gave the boys away to the Amish had any validity.

Michigan is home to about 15,000 Amish. Pennsylvania is home to nearly 75,000 and Ohio is almost exactly the same – with 74,000. Indiana has the third highest Amish population with 53,000. These states are important, because that’s the area we’re looking at when we talk about the search for Alexander, Andrew and Tanner. If you add up the numbers you're looking at about 225,000 people. 

My trip with WDIV anchor Sanda Ali was a day of discovery. The Amish we met were simple and kind. They would potentially take in three children and care for them, but they live within the rules of the law. The first thing they would do is contact the authorities. The different Amish communities are separate and different in ways, but still connected and word travels quickly within. It’s unlikely the boys could be with Amish anywhere close to Camden, Michigan and almost impossible that another group further away would take the boys in without telling the police.

It was an unlikely theory, and our trip solidified the thought. If the boys are safe, they’re not with the Amish.  

 There are more theories, but not many.  I’ve been trying to drag more information out of lead investigator jeremy brewer, of the michigan state police.  As you know, this investigation is active, so he holds his cards close to his vest, but he did agree to take us on a ride to holiday city, driving the route police believe john skelton drove, early black friday morning in 2010.

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About Shattered: Black Friday

For past episodes to and to learn more about Shattered: Black Friday at: If you have any information about this case please call the Morenci Police Department at (517) 458-7104. You can reach Jeremy and the staff at Shattered at:

Shattered: Black Friday is produced and hosted by Jeremy Allen with support producer Zak Rosen, the WDIV Local 4 newsroom and Graham Media Group. 

For news updates on the missing Skelton brothers and more about this podcast, follow Shattered: Black Friday on social media: 


Twitter: @ShatteredPod

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