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.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • 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).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • 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.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.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.

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