Grandparents say missing Morenci brothers are safe

Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton

The grandparents of three southern Michigan boys last seen on Thanksgiving say they've been assured by the boys' jailed father that the children are safe.

John Skelton's parents visited their son Wednesday at the Lucas County Jail. John Skelton is fighting extradition to Michigan on parental kidnapping charges.

William and Roxanne Skelton say their 39-year-old son told them that 9-year-old Andrew, 7-year-old Alexander and 5-year-old Tanner are alive but offered no details of their whereabouts. The boys were last seen playing in the backyard of their father's Morenci home on Thanksgiving Day. They were reported missing on the next day by their mother, Tanya Skelton, after they failed to show up at her home.

The couple told reporters outside the jail that they support their son and believe their grandsons are ok. "He said to tell you that his boys are safe and sound," said Roxanne when asked about the short visit with her son.

Skelton's parents said John would not tell them where the boys are, but that he did say he did not want them to be with Tanya, his estranged wife. "Look at the whole story. And the whole story is not out there. Might not have been the best judgement, but it was a positive decsion and like I told him, I gotta support you on that," said William Skelton.

Police have said the unemployed truck driver fabricated a story about leaving the children with an acquaintance. Volunteers have been searching southern Michigan and northern Ohio since their mother reported them missing on Nov. 26.

Skelton is scheduled to next appear in court on Dec. 14. He is being held in the Lucas County Jail on $3 million bond.

(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)