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Caylee Marie Anthony Case

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The investigation into the disappearance of three missing brothers in Morenci has turned into a murder investigation.






The investigation into the disappearance of three missing brothers in Morenci has turned into a murder investigation.

Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks said Tuesday that as information came out about unconfirmed sightings of the boys, false hope grew in the community. Also, the boys' father, John Skelton, who is jailed on parental kidnapping charges, gave investigators misinformation about the boys, Weeks said.
Weeks would not comment on certain aspects of the investigation, including what police found while searching Skelton's home. But he said Tuesday's announcement was based on information collected throughout the investigation.
"This is no longer a missing persons case, but a murder investigation," Weeks said. "I'm sure that when the time is appropriate ... charges will be requested."
He said Skelton, who has maintained he gave his boys to an organization, told police his sons are with a group called the United Foster Outreach and Underground Sanctuaries -- an organization Weeks said investigators have been unable to locate.
Weeks said early in the search for Andrew, 9; Alexander, 7, and Tanner Skelton, 5, that he did not anticipate a positive outcome.
Kathye Herrera, a family spokeswoman, read a statement at the news conference on behalf of the family.
"Days are long and nights are longer," she said. "Emotions are running the gamut from utter despair to the peaceful feeling that ... the boys are in a better place."
The brothers have been missing since Thanksgiving, when they were last seen in their father's custody. At a court hearing last week regarding Skelton's divorce and custody of the boys, Skelton reportedly told a judge that he couldn't return the boys to their mother, Tanya Skelton.
Weeks said that, come spring, when farmers go back to their fields and campers head to campgounds, he wants them to be aware that the boys still may be out there.
In the short term, Morenci schools will be preparing to handle grieving children. Superintendent Michael Osborne said schools will offer counseling to students.
Meanwhile, fund-raising efforts are planned, including an auction in March, to raise money for a reward fund.
Pastor Donna Galloway of the Morenci United Methodist Church said a memorial also is being planned. She said Tanya Skelton is comforted by knowing she'll see her sons again.
"She knows that when her time comes, that she faces eternity," Galloway said, "they will be waiting there for her."

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