Volunteers enter final day in search for missing boys

Volunteers search miles of Williams County on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010

Friday marks the final day of the volunteer effort in the search for three missing brothers from Morenci.

On Thursday, rescue crews focused their efforts on the waters of Williams County, in search of 5-year-old Tanner, 7-year-old Alexander, and 9-year-old Andrew Skelton. The boys have been missing since Thanksgiving Day when they were last seen in the backyard of their father's home.

John Skelton, 39, is being held in the Lucas County Jail on $3 million bond. He is charged with three counts of parental kidnapping in relation to the boys' disappearance.

Investigators say they have word that Skelton's van was seen exiting the Ohio Turnpike in Williams County around the time the boys went missing. Crews focused in on the area around the turnpike exit on Thursday, including both land and water searches. Sonar imaging was used underwater to look for any sign of the boys; however, nothing out of the ordinary has been found as of yet.

A Skelton family spokesperson thanked volunteers from across the country as well as local law enforcement for their tireless search since the boys' disappearance. "They have given of themselves diligently, going without sleep and being away from their own families," Kathye Herrera said reading from a statement written by the family. "Everyone that has a child should understand what we are going through."

Morenci Police say the volunteer search effort will be suspended indefinitely as of Friday evening. Public service crews will continue the effort from Saturday morning.

"We support their decision to stop the organized search for the weekend to give volunteers a time to recuperate and spend time with their own families," said Herrera.

Those wishing to join the final day of the volunteer search effort should report to the Morenci Bible Fellowship Church between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Friday.