MORENCI, Mich. (AP) - Three boys who went missing on the same day their father tried to hang himself were feared to be in "extreme danger," and the father hadn't been ruled out as a suspect in their disappearance, police said Saturday.
The father, 39-year-old John Skelton, was being treated Saturday at a hospital in Ohio for "mental health issues," one day after his suicide attempt, said Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks.
Authorities were searching not just for the boys but also a female acquaintance, Joann Taylor, who Skelton said he had given them to before the suicide attempt. By Saturday night, officials hadn't even been able to confirm Taylor's existence, Weeks said.
On Friday, the same day as Skelton's suicide attempt, an Amber Alert was issued for his three sons: 9-year-old Andrew; 7-year-old Alexander; and 5-year-old Tanner.
When asked if Skelton was a suspect in the boys' disappearance, Weeks told The Associated Press: "We haven't ruled anything out, yet."
Skelton, who lives in Morenci, about 75 miles southwest of Detroit and just north of the Ohio state line, is separated from their mother but had been keeping his sons.
He told investigators Friday he wanted the boys out of his house when he committed suicide and that he had asked the Taylor to take them to their mother.
Skelton said he met Taylor several years ago and that the two had been involved in an online relationship. She was believed to live in Jackson or Hillsdale counties in southern Michigan.
But officers Saturday had no success tracking down a woman by that name or the silver van Skelton said she was driving.
"The bulk of our action has been putting together a timeline and trying to locate this Joann Taylor," Weeks said.
Michigan State Police and the FBI have joined the search.