MORENCI, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State Police have taken over an investigation into the disappearance of three Michigan boys missing since Thanksgiving 2010 and the agency has vowed to solve the disappearance no matter how long it takes.
The announcement this week comes ahead of the third anniversary of the disappearance of 9-year-old Andrew, 7-year-old Alexander and 5-year-old Tanner Skelton. They were last seen at their father's home in Morenci near the Michigan-Ohio border. They were to be returned to their mother.
"This case is one of the most significant unsolved cases in Michigan," Detective 1st Lt. Sean Furlong, of the state police's First District Special Investigation Section, said in a statement. "Having the case at the MSP will ensure it receives the continued attention it deserves."
The boys' disappearance sparked a large search in the area. Authorities have said they believe they are dead.
John Skelton, who said he didn't harm his children, told police he handed the boys over to a group he didn't identify to protect them from their mother. He pleaded no contest to charges of unlawful imprisonment and is serving 10-15 years in prison.
According to state police, the Morenci Police Department and FBI remain investigative partners in the case. State police said local police had vigorously investigated the case since it began, but this week's change ensures that investigators have resources available going forward.
"I'm ready for the answer," Tanya Zuvers, the boys' mother, told the Detroit Free Press. "I just am tired of having to wait."
Last month, investigators, prosecutors, behavioral experts and staff at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's headquarters in Alexandria, Va., gathered to discuss the case, The Daily Telegram of Adrian reported. Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks helped lead discussions.
Zuvers is encouraging people to keep looking for her sons. Last year to mark the anniversary, a crowd gathered at a Morenci park and a plaque showing images of the boys was dedicated. This year, Zuvers said there will be no public commemoration.
"We have decided to just spend time together as a family to share stories and memories of the boys," she said.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The public is asked to provide any tips or information to the Michigan State Police at http://www.michigan.gov/michtip or by calling 855-642-4847.