The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

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    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
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    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
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    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
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    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
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    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

John Skelton remains in jail 2010.12.22

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

No matter what the outcome of John Skelton’s criminal charges relating to parental kidnapping, the 39-year-old Morenci resident could face indefinite incarceration resulting from child custody issues.

Skelton and his estranged wife, Tanya, both appeared Thursday in Lenawee  County Circuit Court for a civil hearing regarding his failure to return the couple’s three children following a Thanksgiving visitation.

Tanya Skelton told Judge Margaret Noe that John picked the boys up from her parents’ house on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and he was to return them around 3 p.m. Friday, the day after the holiday. That never happened, she said.

“Has he indicated to you where the children are?” asked her attorney, David McFarland.

Tanya replied that she had phone and text message communication with her husband on Friday, Nov. 26, and he indicated that he gave the children to a woman named Joann Taylor, who was to deliver them to Tanya.

The two spoke by phone, she said, because he was in the Fulton County Health Center being treated for an injury which he said resulted from a failed suicide attempt.

“You heard Mrs. Skelton ask for the return of her children,” Judge Noe said to Skelton. “Do you intend to comply?”

“I don’t know where the kids are,” Skelton answered.

The judge asked if he was unwilling or unable to comply, and he said he was unable because he does not know their location.

When Skelton said that he gave his children to a person in a van at his home Thanksgiving night, Judge Noe asked if he knew the person.

“I know the organization but not the person,” he said.

“What’s the name of the organization?” the judged asked.

“I’d rather not say,” Skelton said.

The judge pointed out that Skelton’s failure to cooperate is an apparent contempt of court.

“Are you prepared to make the children immediately available to Mrs. Skelton?” asked the judge.

“I have no way of doing that,” he answered.

Judge Noe told Skelton that his failure to comply with the court’s order could result in incarceration until he does comply.

Judge Noe scheduled a civil contempt hearing for 8:15 a.m. Jan. 28. She appointed John Glaser to serve as Skelton’s attorney since he was already appointed to represent Skelton in the criminal charges of parental kidnapping.

Skelton was initially held in the Lucas County Jail, but he was brought to the Lenawee County Jail in Adrian following an extradition hearing. His bond is set at $30 million.

Morenci police chief Larry Weeks said he has heard of organizations that assist a spouse during custody disputes when the safety of the children is of concern. However, he’s not aware of organizations of the sort that Skelton is suggesting in which the children are kept in hiding without a spouse involved.

He doesn’t expect a criminal or underground organization, if it exists, to come forward with information.

Investigators have doubted Skelton’s testimony about giving the children away and it’s led to statements that a “positive outcome” in the case is not expected.

Skelton faces a preliminary hearing Dec. 28 in regard to the three charges of parental kidnapping.

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