Channel 4 recently ran a news story about me that contained inaccuracies, and I would like for the people of Morenci to know the truth.
On Friday, Nov. 26, I was a vendor in a flea market in Bowling Green, Ohio. In the late afternoon/early evening three boys were standing in the aisle outside my booth. I thought I recognized the face of the oldest one. Just as I was about to ask him if he had ever gone to school in Morenci, the littlest boy started jumping around my tables. I kept my eyes on the merchandise, and eventually the family left my immediate area.
I could not be sure who the boys were with. I regret that all I was concerned with at the time was that the young child not break anything. This is one of those moments that I wish I could have back and do over again, but that is not how life works.
Late that night I saw on the news that an Amber Alert had been issued for the Skelton boys, who looked similar to the ones who were at the flea market. I thought about it a lot on Saturday, and decided to file a tip report with the police. I did so on Sunday, Nov. 28. Then I went to help at the Fire Hall.
I never, ever said that I “spotted the boys,” or that I “saw the boys.” I filed my report with the police and left it there. I realize that, although anything is possible, it is highly unlikely that anyone would abduct children, then take them strolling through the local flea market. Nonetheless, my duty was to report what I saw, whether or not the tip was credible.
A week later on Dec. 6, there was a news story about a cashier in a donut shop in Sandusky, Ohio, who thought she saw the boys. On Dec. 7, I went to the Morenci police station to inquire about this possible sighting, as well as my own. I left there feeling confident that Chief Weeks and his team of experts are doing all they can to bring the boys home.
On Thursday, Dec. 9, at 11 a.m. an FBI agent called me and I reported what I had seen. At 3 o'clock that same afternoon Channel 4 rolled into my driveway in Delta, Ohio. They knew my name, my retiree status, the fact that I had seen three boys in a flea market, and that I had spoken with the Morenci Police on the previous Tuesday. My roommate, Miss White, met them in the driveway. The reporter told her that Miss Carter had seen the boys in Bowling Green at a flea market. Miss White corrected them, saying that I had seen three young boys, whose appearances seemed to match the photos on the Amber Alert, but I did not identify them as the Skelton boys. Miss White told Channel 4 that I was not available for an interview, because I had already left for Mackinac Island. Nonetheless, they proceeded to go to the parking lot of the empty flea market in Bowling Green, and filmed their story, filling in details as they saw fit.
Channel 4 never talked to me about the flea market.
I do not remember seeing the face(s) of the person(s) accompanying the children. There is absolutely no truth to the Channel 4 report claiming that my description matched the one given by the donut cashier in Sandusky. That portion of the story was completely fabricated.
Just like everyone else, I hope with all of my heart that the boys will soon be home safe and sound. However, it is beyond cruel to raise false hopes for the family and the town of Morenci by filing such an irresponsible news report as did Channel 4.
– KC Carter
Retired Morenci music teacher