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Father of 3 Missing Michigan Boys Gets 10 to 15 Years in Prison

Missing Boys Michigan

Alexander Skelton, 7 Andrew Skelton, 9, and Tanner Skelton. 5.AP2010

A southern Michigan man whose three sons have been missing since Thanksgiving has been sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison on a charge of unlawful imprisonment.

John Skelton appeared Thursday in Lenawee County Circuit Court in Adrian. He told Judge Margaret Noe he loves the boys and has cried daily since their disappearance.

Noe told Skelton his "explanations have been ridiculous."

The Morenci man pleaded no contest in July and later said he did so hoping he'd eventually be freed and able to see his sons again. Prosecutors dropped kidnapping charges.

Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton were last seen at Skelton's home near the Ohio border. They were 9, 7 and 5 years old at the time.

The boys had gone to stay with Skelton for Thanksgiving under an agreement with his estranged wife, Tanya Skelton, who had exclusive custody of the children. He was supposed to return the boys to their mother after the holiday. Skelton has told police and a judge that he instead handed the boys over to an organization, but investigators don't believe him.

Judge Margaret Noe said in July that investigative reports by the FBI and Michigan State Police showed Skelton had unlawfully taken the boys.

The Skeltons are now divorced.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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