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.