Alexander William Skelton
Alexander, approximately 2010; Age when reported missing: 17 (approximately 2020); John Skelton; Tanya Skelton; John's minivan
Date reported missing : 11/26/2010
Missing location (approx) :
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Male
DOB : 11/04/2003 (17)
Age at the time of disappearance: 7 years old
Height / Weight : 3'9, 45 pounds
Description, clothing, jewerly and more : A gray shirt and black pajama pants.
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos
: Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes. Alexander has scars on his chin and near his hairline. He wears eyeglasses. His nickname is Alex.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Alexander is missing with his brothers, Andrew and Tanner. Their mother, Tanya Lynn Zuvers Skelton, had filed for divorce from their father, John Russell Skelton, in September 2010 and had custody of the boys.
John took them for a court-ordered visitation over Thanksgiving, and never returned them. That last time anyone besides John saw them was at 5:00 p.m. on November 25, the day before their disappearances were reported. Photos of John and Tanya are posted with this case summary.
John stated he gave the boys to a woman named Joann Taylor, whom he had met on the internet several years before, and asked her to return them to their mother. He said he did this because he planned to commit suicide and didn't want the boys to see it. John stated Joann was married to a pastor named Mark, drove a white or silver minivan and lived in either Hillsdale, Michigan or Jackson County, Michigan.
John attempted to hang himself later that day, but survived and was hospitalized, first at a general hospital and then at a psychiatric facility in Ohio.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert for the Skelton brothers, but they could find no sign of them and no indication that Joann Taylor even existed. Police said they believed the boys were in "grave danger." They said they believed John's story about Joann Taylor was fictitious and something else caused the Skelton children's disappearances.
Investigators stated they were investigating the disappearances as homicides, and John was the prime suspect. They said John's blue Dodge Caravan was on the Ohio Turnpike, along the Michigan-Ohio border, between 4:00 and 7:00 a.m. on November 26, and asked anyone who saw it to come forward. A photo of the vehicle is posted with this case summary. It has the Michigan license plate number 9JQ H93.
Immediately following John's release from the hospital, he was arrested and jailed under suicide watch. He was eventually extradited to Michigan and charged with three counts of felony parental kidnapping, three counts of kidnapping and three counts of false imprisonment.
At a court hearing in December 2010, he changed his story, saying his sons were in the care of "an organization" which he at first refused to name. He later said it called United Foster Outreach and Underground Sanctuaries. The police believe no such group exists.
Tanya and John married in 2002, and the family was active with United Methodist Church in Morenci. John also has one adult daughter and Tanya has two daughters from their previous marriAge at the time of disappearance: s. In mid-September 2010, he withdrew Andrew and Alexander from school and to Florida without Tanya's permission. He told their school they were going on vacation, but also implied they wouldn't return and the school might need to forward the children's records.
Tanya had to go to Florida and have the authorities there force John, under threat of arrest, to take the boys back to Michigan. After they got back, Tanya filed for divorce. She said she only did it to secure custody and prevent John from taking the boys out of the area again, and that she and John were in counseling with hopes of a reconciliation. The children had been visiting John on a regular basis with no reported problems.
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