Sad New Details About Why Police Think The Bones Found In A Suitcase In Montana Belong To Three Brothers Who Disappeared In 2010

Photo: CBS 
Skelton Brothers
Entertainment And News

They went missing after having Thanksgiving with their father.

In 2010, three young brothers went missing after visiting their father for Thanksgiving in Morenci, Michigan. He says he gave 5-year-old Tanner, 7-year-old Alexander and 9-year-old Andrew to a "group" to save them from being abused by their mother — a claim that was never proven true. 

Now the boys' family may finally have some answers after police in Missoula, Montana found bones and teeth of three children inside a box in a shed. Though the remains were found in September, the Michigan police are just starting to investigate if the remains are that of the Skelton brothers. 

An anthropologist estimated the remains to be of children between 2-4 years old, 5-8 years old and 6-10 years old. Michigan State Police Detective Lt. Jeremy Brewer said his agency requested information from the Montana police, but the only current connection is the victims' ages. 

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According to the Montana police, a cleaning crew found the box with the remains when the former tenant was evicted from the property. The Montana State Crime Lab has confirmed that the remains are human and "likely modern and not archaeological." 

In late November, the department was granted a search warrant for a potential homicide, but no additional evidence was found. The remains are undergoing DNA testing in Texas. 

Though it's possible the remains are that of the Skelton brothers, Michigan police say they've never encountered any evidence that would suggest they would be in Montana. 

Tanner, Alexander, and Andrew were last seen on November 25, 2010, playing in their father's backyard. Their mother, Tanya Skelton, reported them missing the next day, when their father, John Skelton, failed to return them home. 

During a custody hearing in December, John Skelton admitted that he gave them to someone from an "organization," that he wouldn't identify. Police said he had also made false claims that he gave his sons to another woman. 

In 2011, Police Chief Larry Weeks said the father claimed he gave the police to a group called United Foster Outreach and Underground Sanctuaries. No such group has ever been found.  

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Tanya said she held out belief for a long time that her boys were alive, until In 2011 when the department changed their case to a homicide investigation. 

The boys' father pleaded no contest to three counts of unlawful imprisonment in September 2011. He's never been charged with their murder. 

Age progressed photo of Skelton brothers

Sadly, because the bones are so small, it may be impossible to extract DNA. The process alone could take months before they get any results. 

Police did say their talking to a person of interest regarding where the remains were found. 

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).