Morenci police chief Larry Weeks reiterates suspicion of murder 2011.09.21

Written by David Green.

skel.Larry“My heart wants to believe what he said,” Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks told a crowd of reporters Thursday morning following John Skelton’s sentencing in circuit court.

His brain, however, doesn’t believe Skelton’s changing stories about giving his three boys away to an organization.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that it’s my belief that John Skelton murdered those boys,” he added.

Weeks briefly reviewed records obtained by an FBI specialist that shows the location of Skelton’s cell phone early in the morning of Nov. 26 when the three Skelton boys disappeared.

Contact between Skelton’s phone and a cellular communications tower shows that he was likely at his residence on Congress Street in Morenci shortly at 4:19 a.m. and was back home by 6:46 a.m.

“During this time we believe that John Skelton disposed of the boys in some fashion,” Weeks said.

Skelton could have traveled up to 80 miles during a gap in tower contact, Weeks said, which leaves a significant area of ground to cover.

“This is one step in the process,” Weeks said about Skelton’s prison sentence. “At least for the next several years there is some latitude in knowing that he is incarcerated while we continue our investigation, but really it changes nothing as far as our determination and our expectations to bring this to some kind of conclusion.”

The chief said that everyone affected by the incident wants resolution now, but he’s cautioned family members to think of the process as a marathon and not a sprint.

“We continue to receive tips, we continue to investigate, to search particular areas,” he said. “We’re not going to give up.”

Skelton was to be transferred initially to the Michigan correctional facility in Jackson and then receive placement to begin his prison term.

Misc. information from the court hearing

• John Skelton now denies that he ever tried to kill himself and claims he was never hospitalized for mental health reasons.

• Although police say that Joann Taylor doesn’t exist—she’s one of the people Skelton claims took his children away for safe keeping—Skelton says he and Taylor created a website together.

• When Skelton was first interviewed by police following the boys’ disappearance, he spoke of his dream about the boys being in a Dumpster near Holiday City, Ohio. It wasn’t until a later interview that he told the story about giving the boys away to an organization.

• Skelton’s cell phone records indicate his phone made contact with a communications tower from Morenci shortly at 4:19 a.m. Nov. 26 and soon showed him on the move. He was located northeast of Holiday City just after 5 a.m., but then no contact with a tower was detected until Skelton returned to his Congress Street home at 6:46 a.m.

Skelton’s travel that morning is consistent with what he told police about his dream.

• While incarcerated, Skelton spoke by telephone with an older daughter from a previous relationship and told her that she is now the youngest Skelton child.

  • 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