MORENCI -- The search is becoming more difficult.
"Always hope," one volunteer searcher said. "You gotta believe that there's hope."
A light coating of snow covered the field being scoured Wednesday by some 400 volunteers and as many Thursday -- desperately hunting in Michigan and across the Ohio border for any sign of the three missing Skelton brothers, ages 9, 7 and 5.
They were last seen Thanksgiving and were reported missing Saturday by their mother.
Back in Morenci, meanwhile, officials said they have focused a dive team on a suspicious area in Williams County, as chief of police Larry Weeks shared a personal story of meeting one of the boys.
"He had one of these toy police vests and caps, and he said to me, 'I'm gonna be a police officer like you some day,' and that's been with me every day since," said Weeks, choking back tears.
This as the mayor, Keith Pennington, spoke for the first time, pleading with the boys' father John Skelton, who's being held in jail in Ohio, to share any information with authorities.
And he shared his condolences with the family.
"We really do not know what they're feeling, because not many of us can say they've lost a son," Pennington said.
In the midst of the ongoing nightmare, this tight-knit town of about 2,000 people is in no mood to celebrate the holidays. The annual Christmas parade that winds through Main Street here has already been cancelled.