Police: DNA comparison to the missing brothers could take months

DETROIT – It may take months before the DNA from the remains of three children found in Montana can be compared with the DNA in 2010 in the disappearance of three Michigan brothers because of a backlog of cases awaiting DNA testing, the Michigan state police said Friday.

Once available, the results will be compared with DNA collected in the case of Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton. The boys were 9, 7 and 5 when they were last seen at their father’s southern Michigan house in November 2010.

The Montana remains were found in September in Missoula. An anthropologist estimated the age of the children of 2-4 years, 5-8 years, and 6-10 years old.

“We have no connection between our Skelton case and Montana,” detective Lt. Jeremy Brewer told The Associated Press on Friday.

He said that he learned about the Missoula continues this week, Montana’s news articles.

“I was provided with the information by people loosely familiar with the Skelton research,” Brewer said. “I read it very quickly on Wednesday night, received in the office Thursday and spoke with a few of their detectives.”

The disappearance of the Skelton boys remain a mystery that authorities in Michigan have vowed to solve. The authorities have said they believe the boys are dead.

Tanya Zuvers reported her sons missing after her estranged husband, John Skelton, failed to return them to her Morenci home on Thanksgiving. The boys had been visiting their father for the holiday.

A massive search over a number of days followed by the forests, fields, campsites, ditches, garages, sheds and other structures in the small community of about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Detroit and near the Ohio state line.

Skelton, 46, told the researchers that he did not harm the boys. He pleaded no contest to three counts of unlawful imprisonment in exchange for prosecutors dropping a charge of parental kidnapping. The unlawful imprisonment charge relates to Skelton’s failure to return the boys to Zuvers. Pleading “no contest” is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.

He was convicted in 2011 and is serving 10 to 15 years in prison.

Skelton insisted that he gave the boys a group to protect them against their mother. He has refused to identify the group.

Zuvers has denied ever mistreating her sons.

Michigan state police took over the investigation in 2013.

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