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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • 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.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.

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