Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dad of missing sons moved to Michigan to face charges; boy disappeared during dad's court-ordered visitation (Morenci, Michigan)

We've reported numerous times on dad JOHN SKELTON. It is pretty much assumed that these boys were killed, with their bodies buried and hidden away somewhere in Michigan or Ohio. Dad is now facing parental kidnapping charges, since he failed to return the boys after court-ordered visitation. Wonder who granted this volatile nutcase visitation?


3 missing boys' dad moved to Mich. to face charges
By The Associated Press

The father of three boys who have been missing since Thanksgiving waived his right to an extradition hearing in Ohio on Tuesday and was promptly driven back to Michigan to face charges.

John Skelton, 39, appeared in a Lenawee County magistrate's office by video feed from the county jail. Magistrate Mindy England ordered him held on $30 million bond.

The grandparents of three southern Michigan brothers last seen on Thanksgiving said the boys' jailed father assured them Wednesday that the children are safe, but wouldn't say where they are.

John Skelton's parents said they talked with him for about a half-hour in the Ohio jail where he is being held on parental kidnapping charges.

"He said to tell you his boys are safe and sound," his mother, Roxanne Skelton, told reporters from Toledo and Detroit TV stations.

The intensive search for three young brothers last seen at their father's Michigan home on Thanksgiving was officially suspended for the weekend Friday as authorities worked to determine what else should be done to find the boys.

Morenci police had said Friday would be the final day this week for an organized search using volunteers, and fire official Bob Mohr said no search was planned for Saturday or Sunday.

Still, it's unlikely the hundreds of people who have turned out to comb the southern Michigan and northern Ohio countryside will stop looking for the Skelton brothers - Andrew, 9, Alexander, 7, and Tanner, 5 - even though police have said they don't expect a positive outcome.

The key to finding three young Michigan brothers who have been missing for nearly a week ultimately may lie with what their father tells police.

For the fifth day in a row, an army of volunteers are expected to trudge across harvested fields, woodlands and dirt back roads in search of 9-year-old Andrew, 7-year-old Alexander and 5-year-old Tanner Skelton, who have not been seen since Thanksgiving.

So far, police say, the boys' father, 39-year-old John Skelton, hasn't told authorities much that they can use as the search for the boys evolves from rescue to recovery.

Megan Nagy had kept quiet when she heard people whispering in the pizza shop where she works that the three missing brothers from the small Michigan town are dead.

It was a Facebook post from a friend - "RIP missing Morenci boys" - that finally prompted her to respond to the rumors that the Skelton brothers, last seen on Thanksgiving, wouldn't be found alive.

"Please don't say RIP," the 19-year-old and another friend responded. "We all need to keep hope."

About 200 people have resumed search efforts in southern Michigan and northern Ohio for three brothers last seen at their father's home on Thanksgiving.

Morenci police in Michigan's Lenawee County said Friday's organized search would be the last of the week for 9-year-old Andrew, 7-year-old Alexander and 5-year-old Tanner Skelton.

Their father, 39-year-old John Skelton, remains held in a Toledo jail on a $3 million bond after he declined Wednesday to waive extradition to Michigan on parental kidnapping charges.

District Court administrator Mark Fetzer, citing a local policy, barred the news media from attending. Michigan court rules, however, prohibit closed hearings unless there are extraordinary circumstances.

"It's not a public forum. We're not doing anything differently just because of the high-profile nature of the case," Fetzer said.

Skelton is charged with three counts of parental kidnapping in the disappearance of his sons Andrew, 9, Alexander, 7, and Tanner, 5. The boys were last seen playing on Thanksgiving in their father's backyard in Morenci, a town about 70 miles southwest of Detroit near Michigan's border with Ohio.

Skelton has been in custody since his Nov. 30 discharge from an Ohio medical facility where he was treated for allegedly trying to hang himself the day after Thanksgiving. Police say Skelton made up a story about giving the children to a friend to bring to his estranged wife.

Skelton will be arraigned Wednesday. He wants a court-appointed lawyer after reporting no income and monthly debts of about $675.

Earlier Tuesday, Skelton appeared in a Lucas County, Ohio, courtroom wearing a brown jail jumpsuit, not the type of protective gown he wore during a previous appearance designed to stop inmates from harming themselves. Looking more alert than he looked that time and with a thicker beard, Skelton sat in a wheelchair and was wheeled out at the conclusion of the hearing.

Skelton's Ohio attorney, Merle Dech, declined to say why Skelton decided to stop fighting extradition.

Skelton's estranged wife, Tanya Skelton, reported the boys missing the day after Thanksgiving after he didn't return them to her from a court-ordered visitation.

Hundreds of searchers have combed through wilderness areas on both sides of the Michigan-Ohio border but have not found any sign of the three boys.

Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks, who accompanied John Skelton back to Michigan, has said he doesn't expect a positive outcome in the search for the boys.

Parental kidnapping carries a prison sentence of a year and a day.

Read more: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2010/12/14/1407386/missing-boys-dad-could-be-sent.html#ixzz187zVKW2C