John Skelton update 2011.06.08

Written by David Green.

A Morenci man suspected in the disappearance of his three sons gave up his right for a probable cause hearing.

John Skelton, in jail since December and facing charges of kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment, was scheduled to appear last Friday in Lenawee County District Court, but instead made a brief appearance June 1 to waive the hearing.

Skelton was initially charged with parental kidnapping after his three sons, Andrew, Alexander and Tanner, disappeared Thanksgiving day.

February in circuit court, prosecuting attorney Jonathan Poer added the more serious kidnapping charges and Skelton responded by asking for the case to return to district court for arraignment and a preliminary examination.

Now the case returns to Judge Margaret Noe in circuit court this week for arraignment and to set a trial date.

Skelton remains in the Lenawee County jail with a $90 million bond. The kidnapping charges could lead to life imprisonment.

In late January, Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks announced that the focus of the inquiry was shifting from a missing persons case to a murder investigation. Weeks stated that investigators do not believe Skelton’s story that he gave the children to someone from an organization to keep them away from their mother.

The Skeltons’ divorce case is also scheduled to resume in circuit court this week.

  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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