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Police look to Montana for possible lead in case of missing Morenci boys

  • shed-22856855-jpg-jpg

    Law enforcement officers in western Montana had a "person of interest" on Wednesday they wanted to interview after a box containing the bones and teeth of three children was found in the shed of a Missoula home in September.

    Photo Courtesy of NBC Montana

  • shed-22856855-jpg

    Missoula police confirm that Michigan state police contacted them Thursday morning inquiring about the case of children’s remains found. A box containing the bones and teeth of three children was found in the shed of a Missoula home in September.

    Photo Courtesy of NBC Montana

  • Tanner-Skelton

    This is photo of Tanner Skelton, age progressed to 9, and went missing at age 5.

  • Andrew-Skelton

    This is photo of Andrew Skelton age progressed 13, was 9.

    Handout. Not Blade photo.

  • Alexander-Skelton

    Alexander Skelton, age progressed to 11, along with a small photo of him at 7.

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Michigan State Police have requested more information from police in Montana after the recent discovery of a box containing human remains from children believed to be the same age as three boys who went missing from Morenci, Mich. in 2010.

Officials believe bones found Sept. 27 at a rental house in Missoula are from three children who were of similar ages to Andrew, Alexander, and Tanner Skelton — ages 9, 7, and 5, respectively — who went missing on Nov. 26., 2010, according to a search warrant application filed in Montana’s Missoula County.

State police announced they are working with Missoula police to determine any potential connection.

Further forensic testing results are pending.

The wait for forensic results can take from four to six months, said Lt. Jeremy Brewer of Michigan State Police. They have so far received about 2,000 tips in the case, including several of discovered bones.

"It's a little interesting, but the finding of human bones and remains is not uncommon," he said.

Police learned of this discovery from a forwarded news story written by a Montana publication. Lieutenant Brewer said he does not want to provide a false sense of hope at this early time.

Meanwhile, several residents said they wish for a sense of closure during this lengthy investigation.

People of Morenci very much look out for one another in this small city, said Joe Farquhar, 66.

"There's lots of bad things that happen, a lot of deaths, but three little boys and a father in a small community? That's something people aren't going to forget," he said.

Melissa Gill, 48, said it is too early to assume the recovered bones are connected. Either way, it seems the Montana case may involve victimized children, she said.

"It's three children that they found who are dead. Let's figure out who they are before we assume it's the Morenci boys all the way in Montana," she said.

The three Skelton children were last seen in their father’s backyard. Their mother, Tanya Zuvers, reacted to the news out of Montana in a Facebook post Thursday evening:

“This information has just been presented to our family within the last several hours. We are processing it and hopeful that we will have answers soon. We are thankful for all your thoughts and prayers.”

She could not be reached for comment.

Those with tips are asked to call contact police at www.michigan.gov/michtip or 517-636-0689.

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