Crews move into recovery mode in search for young brothers

Andrew, Alexander, and Tanner Skelton

The search for three missing brothers continues with efforts focused on recovery Wednesday.

Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks said in a press conference Wednesday morning that the volunteer search effort will cease on Friday evening if the missing Skelton boys have not been found by that time.

5-year-old Tanner, 7-year-old Alexander, and 9-year-old Andrew were last seen in the backyard of John Skelton's Morenci home on Thanksgiving Day. They were reported missing by their mother on Friday, the same say Skelton told authorities he gave the boys to a woman who was to take them back to their mother's home. Skelton told investigators that he did not want his sons in the house when he attempted to kill himself.

Authorities have said their search for the boys has evolved from a rescue to a recovery effort. Searches by an army of volunteers and crews continues in southern Michigan and Williams County, Ohio. Morenci Police are asking that anyone planning to search for the boys as a volunteer after Friday evening refrain from doing so. He says any tips that come in after that time will be followed up by public safety personnel.

Residents with property in areas of Morenci, Michigan; Holiday City, Ohio; Pioneer, Ohio; and Kunkle, Ohio are being asked to search their property on their own.

Chief Weeks says that the Morenci City Hall has been and will be closed for the remainder of the week to serve as a search command center.

A fund has been set up for the Skelton boys' family at United Bank and Trust, E. Main St. in Morenci. Donations can be made to the Skelton Family.

John Skelton, 39, is being held in the Lucas County Jail on $3 million bond. He was arrested on Tuesday, on three counts of parental kidnapping, immediately following his release from an area hospital.