The father of the three Michigan brothers who have been missing since Thanksgiving has been arrested on three counts of parental kidnapping, authorities announced today.
"John Skelton has been released from the hospital and immediately placed in custody," said Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks. Skelton was hospitalized following a failed suicide attempt.
Earlier today, Weeks said that a positive outcome was "not likely" for the three boys.
"Based on the information we have, we do not anticipate a positive outlook here," said Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks. "We have asked a number of people where the boys are. We have not been able to locate them."
Weeks said that despite local reports that bodies have been recovered in the search for the boys he could not confirm the rumors.
Skelton will have to face an extradition hearing from Ohio, where he was arrested, to Michigan, where the crimes are believed to have been committed.
Earlier today, as new details emerged about the relationship between the boy's father, John Skelton, and his wife, Tanya Skelton, it was revealed that a nasty custody battle may have led to the disappearance of the three brothers. The couple married eight years ago but decided to separate earlier this year. Both sought permanent custody of their three sons -- Andrew Skelton, 9; Alexander Skelton, 7; and Tanner Skelton, 5 -- hurling insults at each other about how capable each was to parent the trio.
John Skelton argues that his wife is an "unfit parent," citing her status as a registered sex offender (she was convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old boy more than a decade ago), according to court documents. Tanya Skelton argues her husband's long absences as a truck driver make him an unfit parent.
Asked how Tanya Skelton is coping with her sons' disappearance, Weeks said, "Well, imagine your worst nightmare come true."
Now police are preparing to spend another day searching for the young boys who were at first believed to be with a woman named Joann Taylor, whom Skelton said he'd given the kids to in an attempt to shield them from his botched suicide attempt.
But police said Monday that Skelton had lied about having a relationhip with Taylor, and they question whether she even exists.
"We can confirm that there is no established relationship between [John Skelton] and the person he described as Joann Taylor," Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks said.
Skelton had told police that he'd handed his sons off to Taylor who was to return them to their mother on Thanksgiving evening.
Skelton had said he'd met Taylor and her husband a few years ago after he helped them when their car broke down, and then began e-mailing her, police said.
But confirming that Taylor even exists has been a challenge for authorities since the boys disappeared.
"A reported relationship between Mr. Skelton and Joann Taylor doesn't exist," Weeks said, adding that Skelton had lied during questioning.
Skelton may have also had a history of taking the children without their mother's knowledge. According to the Associated Press, Skelton took his sons to Ohio and then to Florida in September.