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Three Mich. boys still missing after father attempted suicide

Associated Press / November 29, 2010

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MORENCI, Mich. — Three boys who vanished on the same day their father tried to hang himself were feared to be in “extreme danger,’’ and the father hadn’t been ruled out as a suspect in their disappearance, Michigan police said.

The father, 39-year-old John Skelton, was being treated at a hospital in Ohio for “mental health issues’’ after he attempted suicide Friday, Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks said.

The boys, 9-year-old Andrew, 7-year-old Alexander, and 5-year-old Tanner, were last seen Thursday, Weeks said yesterday. Their mother, Tanya Skelton, reported them missing Friday.

Authorities were searching yesterday not just for the boys but also a female acquaintance, Joann Taylor, whom Skelton said he had given them to before the suicide attempt. However, officials haven’t been able to confirm Taylor’s existence, Weeks said.

An Amber Alert was issued for the boys Friday.

When asked if Skelton was a suspect in the boys’ disappearance, Weeks told the Associated Press: “We haven’t ruled anything out yet.’’

Skelton, who lives in Morenci, about 75 miles southwest of Detroit and just north of the Ohio state line, is separated from Tanya Skelton and had been caring for his sons.

He told investigators Friday he wanted the boys out of his house when he committed suicide, and that he had asked Taylor to take them to their mother.

Skelton said he met Taylor several years ago and that the two had been involved in an online relationship. She was believed to live in Jackson or Hillsdale counties in southern Michigan.

But officers have had no success tracking down a woman by that name or the silver van Skelton said she was driving.

Michigan State Police and the FBI have joined the search.

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