Skelton boys' hometown of Morenci refuses to give up hope they are alive

Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-15 18:35:00-05

Morenci is the small town with the big mystery: What happened with Andrew, Alexander and Tanner when they disappeared 7 years ago. 

Now with news that human remains of three children about the same age have been found in Montana, people in Morenci are skeptical.

“Hopefully it is not them, that they are still alive somewhere. That’s what we’ve been hoping for and praying for all this time,” Jeff Moore told 7 Investigator Jim Kiertzner. 

Moore was part of the big group of volunteers who searched nearby farm fields 7 years ago. 

“We were hoping to find that they were just lost in the woods or whatever. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.”

Missing children fliers still hang in the windows of stores along main street from 7 years ago.  John Skelton is in prison on kidnapping charges. 

He said he gave his 3 boys to an underground group after Thanksgiving in 2010 rather than their mother in their divorce, to protect the boys. Is that how they may have ended up in Montana?

Thomas Barton also helped in the search 7 years ago. 

“I had three boys of my own. A very touching situation to think that something would happen to your boys. I couldn’t help but get out there and help doing something.”

Jody Pummel lived across the street from the family and said the boys used to come into her hardware store with their dad. 

“This is rather heart wrenching for me. They were always outside playing. Their mom was always right there with them. They were always having a good time.” 

She also said of the development in Montana, “My gut tells me it is a good possibility.  But my heart tells me, I don’t want it to be them just in hopes that they are still alive."

Carl Murphy runs the barbershop on Main Street. 

He says, “I’m hoping it doesn’t have anything to do with the missing boys. But then again, if it does we’ll have some closure one way or the other.” 

He adds,  “It’s a sensitive situation and a sensitive conversation around here.  Most folks don’t touch on it other than the fact we hope the boys are still alive.”