As another small Midwest community searches for its missing, this Central Ohio resident feels a familiar pull of pain.
Near the Michigan-Ohio border, hundreds of volunteers are searching for any sign of the three missing Skelton brothers from Michigan – Andrew, 9; Alexander, 7; and Tanner, 5 – who were last seen on Thanksgiving Day.
John Skelton, their father, is said to have lied to authorities when he told them he gave the three boys to a woman who was to take them back to their mother on Friday. Skelton attempted suicide on Friday and stated that he did not want them in the house when he killed himself. He remains hospitalized following the attempted hanging.
Officials can find no sign of the woman named “Joann Taylor” or any relationship between her and John Skelton.
The boys’ mother, Tanya Skelton, reported them missing Friday afternoon and an Amber Alert was issued Friday evening. Since that time police, the FBI and hundreds of volunteers have searched fields and wooded areas near the boys’ home with their mother in Morenci, Michigan. In Ohio, a campground and stretches of US Route 20 were searched by law enforcement and firefighters following up on leads. John Skelton was known to travel that road as an over-the-road truck driver.
Tanya Skelton filed for divorce in September and John Skelton took the two oldest boys to Florida but returned. Exclusive custody of Andrew, Alexander and Tanner was awarded to their mother but they had been visiting with their father with no problems.
Only too recently my community was involved in a massive search for its own. For eight days, hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement officials searched rural Knox County for any sign of Tina Herrmann, her son Kody Maynard and her friend Stephanie Sprang. The search ended tragically when their remains were discovered in a hollow tree. Suspect Matthew Hoffman remains in the Knox County jail on kidnapping charges following the rescue of Tina’s daughter Sarah Maynard.
The 2,400 residents of Morenci have come out in force only a few short weeks following a hunting accident that took the life of a local teen. As in Knox County, this small rural Michigan town will search until resolution is found and continue to give each other strength.
Sources: CNN ; Yahoo! News ; Detroit Free Press ; Debbie Henthorn – Knox County, OH Murders