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

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.

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“He said to tell you that that his boys are safe and sound, and that Tanya [the children’s mother] was using them for masterbation and such. And, therefore, those children are safe,” Roxanne Skelton told TV station WTOL in Toledo.

“He took those boys out of harms way, and I respect my son. He loves his children, and respect my son for doing just that — taking his boys out of harms way,” she said.

Skelton said her son told her he went to police in Morenci about what was going on with the boys, but they woudn’t do anything to help.

“He did what he felt he had to do,” she said.

“It might not have been the best judgment, but it was a positive decison and, like I told him, I gotta support on that,” said William Skelton.

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William Skelton said he believes his son, who reportedly tried to hang himself Thanksgiving weekend, wasn’t truly trying to kill himself, but was more likely just trying to get attention.

 Watch the WTOL interview.

Police have said the John Skelton, an 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.

WWJ Newsradio 950 has a call into Morenci police for response.  

No charges have been filed against the boys mother, Tanya Skelton, in this case.  She was however placed on Michigan’s sex offenders registry for a 1998 conviction for having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy.

More on this story.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.