Investigators continue sifting through tips 2010.12.22

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Not a day goes by that the Morenci Police Department fails to receive tips relating to the disappearance of Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton.

Sometimes the call is about spotting three young brothers together. Other times it might be a person claiming to be a psychic or someone who had a dream or an astrologer with charts.

In all, the FBI, Michigan State Police and Morenci Police Department have received more than 900 contacts from people trying to help solve the case.

“We continue to get a variety of tips and some suspected sightings,” said Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks. “Each of these tips is prioritized and throughly vetted. As of this time we have been unable to confirm that any of them are the Skelton boys.”

Weeks said a task force comprised of several members from the Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to work in support of the Morenci Police Department to assist with the investigation. FBI agents remain stationed in Morenci.

“Additional resources from each of these agencies have been and will continue to be called upon as needed to ensure that we swiftly respond to information as it develops,” Weeks said.

Police continue to seek any information about John Skelton’s blue 2000 Dodge Caravan, particularly early in the morning of Nov. 26. The tip line number remains 517/458-7104.

In court last week, Skelton said the children were given to a person belonging to “an organization,” but investigators have doubted information he has provided.

Reward

Chief Weeks announced earlier this month the establishment of a reward fund that was kicked off by an anonymous donor offering $10,000 for the return or recovery of the brothers.

At the Dec. 13 city council meeting, Morenci mayor Keith Pennington spoke about an effort to increase the fund.

“One way to get tips in is to offer a reward,” the mayor said. “The quickest way to find the boys is to have someone tell us where they are. I believe John knows where they are and it wouldn’t surprise me if someone else had at least a good idea where they are.”

The mayor said that if the community can raise $5,000 for fireworks, then twice that amount should be forthcoming for the reward fund.

Pennington said the first donation for the fund arrived from employees at the Montpelier, Ohio, company Powers and Sons who collected $347.

“There may be people and organizations throughout the country that want to do something,” Pennington said. “This is something everyone can participate in.”

A three-person committee of law enforcement personnel will determine whether or not to award someone making a claim. Law enforcement personnel and anyone responsible for the disappearance or harm of the Skelton boys is prohibited from receiving the reward money.

A separate three-member committee will be created for the purpose of raising awareness about the refund, Pennington said, and for promoting fund-raising events.

Additional information is available on the city website (www.cityofmorenci.org).

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017