One year later: Resolution of Skelton saga needed 2011.11.30

Written by David Green.

Thumbing through old issues of the Observer from last fall shows daily life in a small Midwestern community. The band plays at football game intermissions. A kitten is rescued from a sewer. Guests arrive for a special library program. Preparations are made for the annual community Thanksgiving meal.

And then it hits.

The first issue of December tells the story of the disappearance of three young brothers. It’s a story that no one expects to happen here or in any small town in America.

It’s a story of shock and disbelief that touches everyone in the community, and now, a year later, it’s a story of an unresolved tragedy.

For family members and close friends, it’s something that’s been on their minds every day of the year. Others may remember only occasionally, such as when they drive through the neighborhood or pass a yellow ribbon on a downtown light pole, but everyone, no matter how close they are to the family, shares in the outrage.

Perhaps the community has changed through the Skelton brothers’ disappearance. Maybe we’ve had a strong lesson in appreciating our children. We’ve learned to push aside some of our personal wants and come together to help others.

The boys’ mother, Tanya Zuvers, hopes and prays there won’t be a second anniversary of her sons’ disappearance. She, like so many others, wants the matter to be resolved.

Many people were astounded Sunday afternoon to learn the Skelton boys are three of nearly 3,100 Michigan residents who have disappeared and remain unaccounted for. Many have been missing for 10, 20 and more years.

Those statistics point toward the possibility that a resolution might not come for a long time, no matter how diligent the efforts of law enforcement personnel.

In the meantime, the yellow ribbons remain visible in town and people will continue to fear the worst while holding out hope for the best.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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