Shiawassee searchers find no clues in missing Skelton brothers case 2011.07.13

Written by David Green.

front.searchSaturday proved to be a long, strenuous day, said Morenci police chief Larry Weeks, but also a valuable one. 

More than 50 people participated in a day-long training exercise with the Shiawassee County Search and Rescue Team in the Morenci area, and Weeks said some new knowledge was gained.

The Shiawassee agency conducts an annual day of training and the group chose to travel to Morenci for this year’s session. This would give members their organized practice while also checking for clues relating to the Skelton brothers who disappeared from their home in Morenci on Thanksgiving Day.

“Obviously I’m disappointed that we didn’t locate any useful evidence [relating to the Skeltons],” Weeks said, but he noted that’s a bittersweet situation.

“You want to find something and you don’t want to find something,” he said.

After media reports surfaced about finding items that were likely related to the Skeltons, Chief Weeks issued the following statement:

“There have been conflicting reports that items obtained during Saturday’s search exercise were in fact evidentiary in nature. Those reports are inaccurate. Some items not readily identified were collected by searches and assessed at the end of the day. None of the items collected were confirmed as having any connection with the Skelton case and no laboratory analysis is planned at this time.

A number of bones were located, all of which appear to be animal in nature and not human. Additional review may take place to confirm that but at this time we have no reason to believe any of them have any value in the Skelton investigation.”

About 35 area public safety volunteers joined the Shiawassee team. The searchers were in the field from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“I learned some specialized techniques on how they conduct search and rescue,” Weeks said. “I learned some new techniques that I wasn’t aware of. We’re more experienced now and better prepared should we conduct additional searches.”

It proved to be a hot, tiring day in the field, he said, but it was a good experience overall.

“I hope everyone took away something positive,” he said. “I know I did.”

Participants included representatives from Morenci’s police and fire departments, Clayton Fire Department, Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department Reserves, Raisin Township Police Department, Adrian Police Department, Hudson Police Department, Cambridge Township Police Department, Adrian Township Fire Department, the Community Emergency Response Team and the Michigan State Police.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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