Father of missing brothers asks court for lawyer, held on $30M bond

John Skelton is seen in court on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010.

The father of three missing Morenci brothers was formally charged with kidnapping by a Lenawee County judge on Wednesday.

John Skelton, 39, appeared by video for his arraignment on charges of parental kidnapping. The Morenci man's sons have been missing since last being seen in his backyard on Thanksgiving Day. They were reported missing by their mother , Skelton's estranged wife, Tanya, the next day, after not being dropped off at her home. Skelton faces three counts of parental kidnapping or interference with parental custody for not returning the boys to their mother.

Police say Skelton, an unemployed truck driver, tried to hang himself on the day after Thanksgiving and lied about giving the boys to a friend.

Crews have searched areas of southern Michigan and northern Ohio for any sign of 9-year-old Andrew, 7-year-old Alexander and 5-year-old Tanner Skelton.

On Wednesday, Skelton told Judge James Sheridan that he only has $20 in his bank account and thus needed an attorney. An Adrian attorney has been appointed to Skelton's defense. A preliminary hearing, to determine if there is enough probable cause to go to trial, has been scheduled for Dec. 28.

Skelton remains held in the Lenawee County Jail on $30 million bond .