John Skelton, father of three boys missing from Morenci, Mich., since last year, pleaded no contest Thursday to unlawful imprisonment, according to reports.
The surprise plea deal in Lenawee County Circuit court meant other charges were dropped against Skelton, including kidnapping and parental kidnapping.
Skelton could get 15 years at his sentencing, scheduled for Sept. 15. As for what happened to his kids, some new disheartening details have emerged.
Eerily reminiscent of the Casey Anthony case, Circuit Judge Margaret M.S. Noe read aloud from police reports stating that a week before the disappearance, Skelton searched online for information on how to break a neck.
Noe said Skelton said, "The children will hibernate until they graduate."
The boys – Andrew, 9; Alexander, 7, and Tanner, 5 – were last seen on Thanksgiving at their father's home. After the boys went missing, Skelton tried to hang himself. The boys’ mother has said she believes they’re alive.
But after several fruitless searches, police have given steadily greater indications that they believe the boys are dead, according to reports.
In February, Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks announced they had reclassified the missing person’s case as a homicide investigation.