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John Skelton Attempts Suicide; His Three Young Boys Are Missing

By Pete Kotz in missing persons, unsolved
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 10:10 am
UPDATE: Police have now ruled out that John Skelton gave his kids to another woman before he attempted suicide. They now believe he may have simply dumped them along a road somewhere in Michigan or Ohio. See update after the jump...

The three missing Skelton boys are Andrew, 9, Alexander, 7, and Tanner, 5.
On the day after Thanksgiving, John Skelton decided to commit suicide. So he dropped his three young boys off with a friend, Joann Taylor, and asked that she deliver them to the home of his estranged wife in Morenci, Michigan. He didn't want them around when he hanged himself.

Police believe John Skelton lied about giving his three boys to another woman
Though details are sketchy, Skelton's suicide proved unsuccessful. We don't know how he was found, but police say he's now in a mental health facility. The bigger question: No one knows where his three children are.

The kids -- 9-year-old Andrew, 7-year-old Alexander and 5-year-old Tanner Skelton -- were supposed to be delivered by Taylor to his wife Friday morning. But they never arrived. Skelton says he met Taylor years ago after he stopped to help her when her car broke down along a road. He claims they stayed in touch over the internet ever since.

But police can find no one by that name, and they're not sure Taylor even exists. They also say they can't verify anything Skelton has told them about the whereabouts of his kids.

In the meantime, cops and volunteers have been searching fields near Morenci. Police have also dispatched searchers to Kunkle and Pioneer, Ohio this morning.

UPDATE: Police now believe John Skelton may have dumped his kids along the side of a road.

Police spent yesterday searching an Ohio campground and a 20 mile stretch of road for any clues to the missing boys. But since they've tried to limit children from helping with the search -- and the road search strictly involved police -- we're guessing they're expecting the worst.

Tanya Skelton was convicted in 1998 of having relations with an underage boy
They've now ruled out the possibility that Skelton gave the kids to another woman to deliver to his wife. Though they're not saying so expressly, detectives appear to believe "Joann Taylor" doesn't exist.

Skelton has taken his children before. His wife Tanya filed for divorce in September after he took the boys to Florida, saying he was moving to Jacksonville. He also took the kids to Ohio without her permission. She was granted custody, but he retained visitation rights.

This isn't the classiest family. Tanya was convicted in 1998 of having a relationship with an underage boy. We don't know the details of that incident, but seeing as how a judge granted her custody, we're guessing a court saw even less in John.

Since their separation in September, friends say John has been harassing Tanya over the internet.

See our last story from the Missing Persons file:
Ex-Fiance Charged in the Murder of Missing College Ballerina Jenni-Lyn Watson.

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