This week marks 10 years since the disappearance of three brothers from our area.
Tanner, Alexander and Andrew Skelton would be 15, 17 and 19 years old now.
He's never been charged with killing the boys, but police believe their father, John did something terrible to them back in 2010.
And he could get out of prison soon, taking with him, a piece to a puzzle that may never be solved.
"I never thought we would still be sitting here at 10 years," their mother Tanya Zuvers said. "I thought this would be resolved by now, but here we are.”
Chapter one: Another Thankgiving, alone
Zuvers will spend another Thanksgiving without her boys.
She lives every day not knowing whether they’re dead or alive, or will walk through the front door.
“Realistically I know that, chances are, my boys are living in a better world than we live in and that gives me comfort as a Christian. I know that I will be reunited with them someday. But I still want that knock on the door that says, 'Hey Mom, we’re home.'”
Chapter two: Investigators' suspicions
Investigators who know the evidence agree, the boys are likely dead.
“There were some early indicators within the first week or so that led me to believe something nefarious had happened with the boys. It wasn’t going to be a matter of finding them alive somewhere. It was going to be something more horrible happened to them,” said former Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks.
The boys' father, John Skelton claimed he gave them to an underground group to protect them.
But, police never found evidence of the group.
John Skelton is serving a 15-year sentence for child endangering and kidnapping, but could get released early.
Chapter three: The community remembers
People in the tight-knit, tiny town of Morenci remember the tragedy vividly, so much so they keep the brothers' missing posters in the windows all these years later.
"If I was him, I'd be afraid to get out of prison," said Morenci resident Jean Todd.
"He needs to stay there. That's my opinion, or he needs to tell someone what really happened, what he did with them," said Renee Arno, who works at the local pharmacy.
Chapter four: What could solve the case?
And therein lies the problem. Investigators say John's never told anyone the truth about what happened to the boys and tips have dried up over the years.
"As law enforcement, we want tips that are gonna be able to help, you know, bring some closure to this," said lead investigator Det. Lt. Jeremy Brewer of the Michigan State Police.
With a release on the horizon, Zuvers and investigators believe it's unlikely John will ever confess, so it's up to them to uncover more evidence to keep him behind bars.
"Worst case scenario, he killed them," Zuvers said. "It goes through my mind, does he think he's only gonna do the 15 years and he's gonna get out and they're never gonna pursue him?"
"I think it's there," said Weeks. "I think there's enough information there, as I've said all along, I think this is a murder case."
Investigators won't reveal the evidence they've collected, or whether it's enough for a murder charge.
But, they believe the answer to this mystery still lies in where John was in his blue Dodge Caravan on Black Friday, 2010.
"His cell phone left his house about 4:29 a.m. on that morning. We have an indication that the phone pinged down in Holiday City, Ohio around 5:00, 5:05 and then he's back home at 6:46," Weeks recalls.
"So, you're talking about an hour and a half or so that he's got to do whatever he wants and this is a very large, vast country area full of cornfields and rivers. It's difficult to look at the vast area and the time he had to say this is where the boys are, or this is what he did with them."
"In my mind, that is where the tips need to come from. We need to know what he was doing during that window of time."
"Obviously it would be very hard for people to think back 10 years and be able to say for sure they saw that van but stranger things have happened," said Brewer.
Chapter five: Hope - And how to help
It's that same dream Zuvers holds on to all these years later.
"We still have hope," she says. "I still have hope, that, in my lifetime, preferably sooner rather than later, I will have answers."
You can help Zuvers get those answers she so desperately needs.
If you saw John Skelton and the boys on Thanksgiving or Black Friday of 2010 call 1-800-SPEAKUP
I reached out to John Skelton multiple times in prison, but he didn't respond.
His sentence is up in 2025 but he's eligible for parole in two years.
To buy a commemorative shirt: https://aatkeepinghopealive.itemorder.com/sale
FULL INTERVIEW WITH TANYA ZUVERS