ADRIAN — Following a brief court hearing, a judge granted a request by Tanya Skelton to be allowed to sell the home that she once shared with her husband, John, now a suspect in the disappearance of their three young sons.
Lenawee County Circuit Court Judge Margaret Noe granted the request although neither party will benefit from the sale — the deal will be structured in such a way that the buyer of the home on East Congress Street will assume the debt on the home.
Monday’s hearing was the first step in the divorce trial that Judge Noe has said will proceed like the three boys — Andrew, 9, Alexander, 7, and Tanner, 5 — are still alive, although authorities have said that they believe the boys are dead and that their father is the prime suspect.
Ms. Skelton filed for divorce from John Skelton, 39, in September, more than two months before the boys disappeared during the Thanksgiving Day visit with their father at his Morenci home. Mr. Skelton is charged with three counts each of kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment in connection with his missing sons. He has pleaded not guilty. The charges carry a sentence that could keep him locked up for life. He is being held in the county jail in lieu of $30 million bond.
During Monday’s hearing, Mr. Skelton seemed most interested that unspecified personal property that belongs to him that may be in the home not be disposed of, but Ms. Skelton’s attorney, David McFarland, said his possessions have long ago been removed from the home. With the decision about selling the home, the only issues remaining to be settled in the divorce will be custody of the three boys, and parenting time.
The search for the boys shifted to a murder investigation on Feb. 1 when Morenci police Chief Larry Weeks announced that evidence indicated there was little hope they would be found alive.