DNA tests in Skelton case could take 3 to 6 months

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MISSOULA, Mont. (WILX) -- Police say human remains found in Montana in September were determined to likely be the skeletal remains of three children.

Testing determined the ages of the children to be 2-4 years old, 5-8 years old, and 6-10 years old. It is not clear when they died.

The remains were discovered in the shed of a Missoula home in September. A cleaning crew found a box containing rocks and pieces of bone when a tenant was evicted. The bones fragments were determined to be modern, and not archeological.

A search of the property revealed no new information, and police have not located a crime scene. They are contacting individuals associated with the property and conducting interviews.

Police say they have a person of interest, and that that person has agreed to speak with them.

Michigan State Police investigators are working with Missoula police to determine if there is a connection to Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton who were reported missing from Morenci in Lenawee County the day after Thanksgiving in 2010.

It could take 3 to 6 months to identify the remains.

Police note that there is nothing previously reported to police linking the brothers, and it has not been confirmed if the remains belong to related siblings. However, Robery Lowery Jr., VP of Missing Children Division, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children called the discovery unusual, and said the center is not aware of three boys missing in the age range other than the Skelton brothers.

There will be more forensic testing that could provide more answers. Until that testing is complete it cannot be determined if the remains belong to the missing Skelton brothers.

The Skelton boys went missing the day after Thanksgiving 2010 and have not been seen since. John Skelton had the boys on Thanksgiving day in 2010 and was suppose to return them back to their mother, Tanya Zuvers the following day, but never did.

John claims that the boys were given to an underground organization in order to keep them safe from the mother, who he says was abusive toward the them. John and Tanya were just getting out of a nasty divorce.

The boys' father John Skelton is serving a 15 year prison sentence for unlawful imprisonment.

In 2015 the mother of the three missing boys said she believed they were no longer alive. On Thursday she release the following statement on behalf of her family: "This information has just been presented to our family within the last several hours. We are processing it and hopeful that we will have answers soon. We are thankful for all your thoughts and prayers."