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John Skelton Waives Right to Key Hearing

ADRIAN, Michigan - A Michigan man blamed for the disappearance of his three sons on Thanksgiving will go straight to trial on charges of parental kidnapping.

John Skelton waived his right to a hearing to determine if prosecutors had probable cause to charge him. Court officials in Lenawee County say he informed a judge on Monday, which means a hearing set for Tuesday is canceled.

The unemployed truck driver is charged with parental kidnapping in the disappearance of 9-year-old Andrew, 7-year-old Alexander and 5-year-old Tanner Skelton, who were last seen on Thanksgiving in their father's backyard.

Police say Skelton tried to hang himself the next day, and fabricated a story about having first given the boys to a female friend to give to their mother.

The father later said he gave them to someone from an "organization," although he hasn't identified either.

The boys' grandparents said Skelton assured them the children were safe and that he insisted on protecting them from their mother, Tanya Skelton, who he claims was sexually abusing the young boys. The couple was reportedly going through a divorce when the children disappeared.

"He said to tell you that his boys are safe and sound," Roxanne Skelton, the suspect's mother, told reporters.

Hundreds of searchers spent days scouring the countryside on both sides of the Michigan-Ohio border, but found no trace of the boys.

Parental kidnapping charges are defined as keeping a child more than 24 hours with the intent of concealing the child from the other parent. The maximum penalty is a year and a day in custody.

Skelton remains in jail on $30 million bond. His next court date is Jan. 5.

For More Coverage of the missing Michigan boys, visit Crimesider.