(WXYZ) Morenci, Mich. - John Skelton has been sentenced, but there’s still no sign of the missing children. Skelton is standing firm on his claim that he placed his three sons with members of an underground organization, a family with adopted children of their own. Police say, however, there’s no evidence they exist.
But an area psychologist has been monitoring the case from the beginning and believes Skelton may be telling the truth.
Forensic psychologist Dr. Steven Miller has, for more than 30 years, been evaluating victims and suspects for the criminal justice system and family courts. And after listening to what Skelton has said about his sons, Miller believes he gave them up to a secret organization.
"I don’t see any evidence from my reading of his interview that he’s lying about giving them to somebody," Miller told Action News back in December, about a week after Alexander, Andrew and Tanner disappeared.
"Now, I see plenty of evidence that suggests that he’s misdirecting people and he’s not telling everything that he knows," he said.
John Skelton was under arrest for kidnapping, and there was a growing fear that the children had been murdered. Hours of searching in the dead of winter in Ohio and Michigan, and again in July during a police training session all turned up nothing.
Skelton had spoken by phone with Action News reporter Tom Wait, and just two weeks ago, Skelton spent more than an hour on the phone with me, again insisting that he placed the children with a family in the underground.
“I’ve met these people, if I had to put a number on how many times I’ve met them I would say 25…it wasn’t a onetime meeting," Skelton said.
"It wasn’t like that. the boys saw them a few times as well,” he said.
Dr. Miller says Skelton isn't off-base.
"The underground actually exits, I know it exists, it’s been around for 25 years," Miller said.
After hearing Skelton’s interviews, and talking to family members on both sides, Dr. Miller even more strongly believes Skelton gave the children away.
“It’s likely that he had a plan to go underground himself originally with the children, which is usually the case when a child goes under ground with a parent, a protective parent," said Miller.
Skelton alleges his now ex-wife Tanya had been inappropriate with the boys, and that long before the children disappeared, John had told his parents in Jacksonville, Florida about his concerns. Dr. Miller has interviewed John’s mother and father.
"Both of them said that he was talking about this sexual misconduct on the part of his wife as early as February, or March, that would have given him some time to think about this, and once I think he lost custody, I think that he went in to full speed ahead with trying to do something to get the boys into a safe place," said Miller.
We wanted to speak with Tanya about the misconduct allegations, but after agreeing to talk about this and other issues, Tanya canceled the meeting.
“You have to keep an open mind, because there’s always two sides to the story," said Dr. Miller.
"You want to have an opportunity to interview everyone."
It’s important to note that police investigators may have information and insight about the disappearance that Dr. Miller doesn’t have. They stand firm that this should remain a homicide investigation, until they have evidence to prove the children are alive.
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