The remains of three children found in a box in a shed in Missoula are gaining national interest, which may help generate leads into who these children were - and how they died.
A cleaning crew working on property in the 2100 block of South 12 Street West discovered a box with bones, teeth, and rocks back in September 2017 and turned it over to the Missoula Police Department. The former tenant of the rental property had been evicted the previous week.
A University of Montana anthropology professor determined that the remains were “likely modern, and not archaeological.” The professor estimated the ages of the children to be 6-to-10 years old, 5-to-8 years old and 2-to-4 years old at the time of death.
Michigan State Police's lead investigator has contacted Missoula investigators about a case involving three brothers who vanished from the small town of Morenci, Michigan, in 2010.
The ages of Alexander, Andrew, and Tanner Skelton match the general ages of the skeletal remains found in Missoula.
Their father claims he gave his sons away to an Amish family, but the children haven't been seen since. He is currently serving time in prison for unlawful imprisonment.
Sergeant Travis Welsh of the Missoula Police Department says as the case gets more attention, it's likely other law enforcement agencies with cold cases involving children will be contacting Missoula investigators.
The bone fragments will soon be undergoing DNA testing that could determine if the remains belong to siblings, but the results could take some time.
There is no confirmed link to the Michigan case at this time.
Detectives have told us that the shed where the bones were discovered was not a crime scene.
Welsh says there is a person of interest they'd like to talk to about the case, but emphasized that the person is not considered a suspect.
Welsh noted, "The thing is, there are missing children all over the world. And the thing is, we don't know that this particular case is isolated to the city of Missoula. We don't know where the bones came from, and if they were transported from one area to another, and ended up here."
ClickOnDetroit.com says: On November 26, 2010, the boys' mother, Tanya Skelton, told Morenci police Officer Ryan Hillard that her husband, John Skelton, was supposed to bring the children back to her. But he never did. An Amber Alert was issued, and the FBI came to town as massive searches spanning down through Ohio began, to no avail. John Skelton is currently sitting in a jail cell at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan, on an unlawful imprisonment charge.