Michigan authorities said they are treating the search for three boys who went missing in November as a homicide investigation. The boys' father is the primary suspect.
"We've seen false hope continue to grow," said Larry Weeks, the Morenci police chief at a press conference. Considering the investigation up to this point, he said, "this is no longer a missing person's case, but a murder investigation."
Efforts to find the brothers have so far proved futile, and Weeks has said statements made by their father, John Skelton, 39, "indicate it's not going to be a positive outcome."
Skelton allegedly told investigators through his parents that he turned the boys over to the United Foster Outreach and Underground Sanctuary. An investigation by police, however, found that no organization exists by that name.
“It’s just one piece of misinformation that I believe that we’ve received from him,” Weeks said.
Weeks appeared somber at the news conference, confessing that his "heart is in this investigation as well as the logic in my head."
Skelton has since been charged with three counts of parental kidnapping in the boys' disappearance. An investigation is ongoing.
The boys: Andrew Skelton, 9; Alexander, 7; and Tanner 9, were last seen alive on Thanksgiving at their father's home in Morenci, a small town of 2,000 people about 75 miles southwest of Detroit.
Skelton tried to hang himself the day after his sons went missing, authorities said. He has allegedly given police several accounts on the boys' whereabouts, first saying he gave them to a female acquaintance to pass along to their mother and then saying he left them with an "organization."
Tanya Skelton filed for divorce from her husband in September. A judge gave her custody of the boys, but she and Skelton had reached an agreement on visitation.
A spokeswoman from Tanya's family said the family has been through a lot since the boys went missing but are united through a faith in God.
Fox News' Edmund DeMarche and Cristina Corbin contributed to this report