The boys' father is released from a mental hospital and arrested for investigation of kidnapping

By Sara Hammel
Updated November 30, 2010 02:20 PM
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Authorities in Michigan are bracing for bad news in the search for three Michigan brothers who disappeared when their father tried to commit suicide.

Morenci, Mich., Police Chief Larry Weeks acknowledged at a news conference Tuesday that police “do not anticipate a positive outcome here.”

The conclusion is based on statements made by the boys’ father, John Skelton, who was released from a mental hospital and immediately arrested for investigation of kidnapping.

Weeks declined to reveal what Skelton said.

“Because it’s an ongoing and fluid situation, that information is not going to be made available to the public,” Weeks said, adding that no decision has been made on possible criminal charges in the case.

Weeks also addressed how the boys’ mother, Tanya Skelton – who is separated from her husband – is holding up, saying, “Imagine your worst nightmare coming true. How would you respond?”

Mental Hospital

John Skelton, who had been treated in an Ohio hospital for “mental health issues” after his suicide attempt, told investigators he dropped off his boys, 9-year-old Andrew, 7-year-old Alexander and 5-year-old Tanner, last Friday morning with a woman by the name of Joann Taylor, whom he allegedly met online. But police found no such woman with a connection to Skelton.

Authorities now believe that Skelton, 39, may have driven his sons to an area in Ohio between 2:30 p.m. Thursday and 1:30 p.m. Friday, when they were reported missing, Weeks said. The search continued in Northern Ohio Tuesday.