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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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