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.

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016