Police were searching today for three young brothers who haven't been seen since their father tried to hang himself, and investigators unraveling the man's strange story fear the boys are in grave danger. At the heart of the investigation is a perplexing account by the father, 39-year-old John Skelton, who told investigators he'd left the boys in the care of a woman with whom he had an online relationship. Yet by late yesterday, officers had no luck finding the woman. Skelton was being treated at a hospital in Ohio for "mental health issues" yesterday, one day after he tried to kill himself.
Skelton told investigators Friday that he didn't want the boys—Andrew, 9, Alexander, 7, and Tanner, 5—in his house when he committed suicide, so he asked a woman named Joann Taylor to take them to their mother, who is separated from Skelton. Weeks said yesterday that officers haven't been able to confirm that Taylor exists. 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 yesterday had no success tracking down a woman by that name or the silver van Skelton said she was driving.