Morenci keeps Hope for Missing Boys

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

Nine days since three young boys were reported missing in Morenci and in the middle of a cold and tragic situation, the community comes together to find some warmth in hope.

Dozens of people from the Morenci community gathered at Wakefield park to light a candle, as a symbol that their flame of hope is still burning.

"I don't give up hope. I know they are alive. We are going to find them," said Morenci resident Delbert McClain.

Mcclain and his wife organized volunteers to decorate the park extra this Christmas for the missing 9-year-old Andrew, 7-year-old Alexander, and 5-year-old Tanner.

"So if they come home, it'll be great to see their eyes light up. We did a lot more for the children," said McClain.

Just two weeks ago before their disappearance, the Skelton boys helped hang the lights at Wakefield park to decorate for the holidays. Now the community hopes the more lights, candles, and their prayers will help guide the boys home.

"He said, 'Pastor Donna, with the lights on the church and at the park, we are going to light up the whole town!' That's what Andrew said to me," said Rev. Donna Galloway of Morenci United Methodist Church.

Rev. Galloway told community members not to be overwhelmed by tragedy and not to lose hope. Something she is trying to do after her visit with John Skelton in jail.

"There are days when it is not always easy to be a pastor and work for all of God's people. That day of ministry has been my most difficult day," said Galloway.

In jail, Skelton didn't say anything that could help locate the three boys, said Galloway. She declined to share any further details of their talk.
Morenci community members wiped tears from their eyes remembering the boys.

"I'm hoping they come home and I love them," said Kierstyn Miller, who remembers the boys playing with her little brother at her home in Morenci.

John Skelton remains in a Toledo, Ohio Jail on a $3 million bond and is charged with parental kidnapping. He will appear at an extradition hearing next week.

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