Father of 3 missing Michigan boys rejects parole hearing

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A father of three Michigan brothers missing for more than a decade won't face a parole board as planned, state officials said Friday.

An interview with John Skelton and a parole board member was scheduled this week, "but the prisoner declined the interview," Chris Gautz, a spokesman with the Michigan Department of Corrections, told The Detroit News. "The board then determined the prisoner would not be paroled and will continue to serve his time in prison.

"He will have another chance in front of the board around this time next year."

John Skelton

Skelton, 49, is housed at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia while serving 10 to 15 years for unlawful imprisonment.

He was charged the year after his sons, Tanner, Alexander and Andrew, were last seen in the backyard at Skelton's home in Morenci, near the Michigan-Ohio border, in November 2010.

The boys, who were 5, 7 and 9 years old at the time, had been slated to return to their mother, Tanya Zuvers. They were reported missing the next day.

Skelton was in a bitter custody fight and has told authorities conflicting accounts of what happened to the children, including granting the three to a stranger to protect them from their mother. Police have challenged that idea and said they believe he killed the boys.

Tanner Skelton, 5, from left, and his older brothers, Alexander, 7, and Andrew, 9, have been missing since 2010.

Skelton had been scheduled for a parole hearing in summer 2020

In September, Zuvers announced on the Facebook page dedicated to finding their sons that state corrections officials reported Skelton was denied parole.

Last month, she wrote that he was due for another hearing this year, earlier than expected. Zuvers asked supporters to write letters to the parole board requesting Skelton remain in prison, "to not let him out until he maxes out on his own."

Meanwhile, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children last year released more age-progressed poster images of her sons, who would be 15, 17 and 19 now.