Dad May Have Dumped Boys on the Road

John Skelton fought bitterly for custody of 3 young sons

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 30, 2010 4:11 AM CST | Updated Nov 30, 2010 5:12 AM CST

(Newser) – A troubled father fighting for custody of his three young sons may have simply "dumped" them on a cold, lonely stretch of Ohio highway, police believe. Cops, firefighters and volunteers have spent days hunting for Andrew, 9, Alex, 7, and 5-year-old Tanner, who haven't been seen since Thanksgiving. They hope the boys were alive when they were abandoned by their father, John Skelton, and have managed to survive, but hope is fading, and officials have limited children from helping in the search, worried about what they may find, reports the Detroit News.

"Until we've exhausted everything, we're continuing on," said the local police chief. Skelton had told police he left the boys with a woman friend who was to deliver them back to their mom, but police say that was a lie. Their mother alerted police that the boys were missing when Skelton turned up at a Ohio hospital without them following a failed suicide attempt. Skelton was in a bitter custody battle with the boys' mom, who's on the state's sex offender list for sex with an underage boy. Click here for more.

Missing brother Alexander Skelton, 7.
Missing brother Alexander Skelton, 7.   (AP Photo/National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)
Volunteer Brett Casey searches a roadside  in Holiday City, Ohio, yesterday for the 3 missing Skelton boys.
Volunteer Brett Casey searches a roadside in Holiday City, Ohio, yesterday for the 3 missing Skelton boys.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Volunteer Megan West searches a roadside in Ohio's Holiday City for any sign of the missing brothers.
Volunteer Megan West searches a roadside in Ohio's Holiday City for any sign of the missing brothers.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Tanner Skelton, 5, hasn't been seen since Thanksgiving.
Tanner Skelton, 5, hasn't been seen since Thanksgiving.   (AP Photo/National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)
Andrew Skelton, 9.
Andrew Skelton, 9.   (AP Photo/National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)
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