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

  • Front.cheers
    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.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    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.
  • Front.code.2
    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.
  • Front.gym.new
    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.
  • Front.lift
    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 faces life imprisonment charges 2011.03.02

Written by David Green.

skelton.3.2By DAVID GREEN

A Morenci man accused of parental kidnapping now faces charges that could lead to life in prison.

Kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment charges were added last week to an existing accusation of parental kidnapping against John Skelton, 39.

The parental kidnapping charge could result in imprisonment of one year, but the new kidnapping charge comes with the possibility of three life sentences.

Skelton faces kidnapping charges relating to the disappearance of his three sons, Andrew, 9, Alexander, 7, and Tanner, 5, following a Thanksgiving visitation. Skelton failed to return the boys to their mother, Tanya, and claimed they were given to an unnamed organization.

Morenci police chief Larry Weeks doubts Skelton’s story and announced Feb. 1 that the focus of the investigation was changing from missing persons to homicide.

The new charges were to have been presented in circuit court Feb. 23, but Skelton’s public defender, John Glaser, requested a two-week adjournment for time to study the new information submitted by the Morenci Police Department.

Chief Weeks said the new reports he submitted to county prosecuting attorney Jonathan Poer led to the heightened charges.

The three kidnapping charges claim the children were restrained with the intent of taking them outside of the state. “Restrain” is defined as restricting a person’s movements or to confine the person so as to interfere with that person’s liberty without that person’s consent or without legal authority.

Volunteer search crews combed rural areas in Northwest Ohio in search of the boys after their disappearance. Information collected by police suggested Skelton may have traveled with his sons into Ohio.

The unlawful imprisonment charges, in this case, Weeks said, refer to the children being secretly confined. Those charges each carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

Glaser will study the new information and talk to Skelton for a decision on how to proceed. Circuit Court Judge Margaret Noe set March 9 as the next hearing date.

Glaser told the Adrian Daily Telegram that it is up to Skelton to decide whether to proceed with setting a trial date or to demand a preliminary examination relating to the new charges. At an examination, the prosecution would be required to present evidence supporting the new charges.

In December, Skelton waived his right to a hearing regarding the parental kidnapping charges.

Skelton is also scheduled to appear in court March 18 regarding contempt of court charges. His failure to return the children breaks the provisions of the visitation agreement with his estranged wife.

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