TOLEDO, OH – Police say a woman, her son, and three of her young grandchildren were found dead inside a garage in an apparent murder suicide.
I wanted to post this yesterday, but needed a little more information regarding the motive. The bodies were discovered after 60-year-old Randy Ford returned home from work on Monday and found disturbing notes written by his wife, 56-year-old Sandy Ford, his 32-year-old son, and his three grandchildren.
Randy and Sandy had been caring for three of their grandchildren for the last few years after their mother, Mandy Hayes, asked her mom for help because a fourth child, a 9-year-old boy, was exhibiting “significant behavior problems.” Mandy and her husband felt the kids would be in a safer environment living with their grandparents.
Unable to find his family, a distraught Randy called police after finding the garage had been barricaded shut from the inside and he could not get in. Rescue crew arrived and used a sledgehammer to bash in the garage door. Once inside, they found a truck running with two hoses leading from the exhaust into the back windows of a Honda Civic that contained the dead bodies of Sandy and her 32-year-old son, Andy, along with Sandy’s three grandchildren — 5-year-old Madalyn Hayes, 6-year-old Logan, and 10-year-old Paige.
As for why Sandy and her son would decide to kill themselves along with the three children, it looks like a custody dispute was the root cause. Mandy wanted her children back home with her and within the last week, had taken the children out of her mother’s home and had them back living with her and her husband.
There’s not a lot of specifics regarding the arrangement Mandy initially made with her mother, or if the courts were even involved, but police had been out to Sandy’s home twice last week; once for a domestic violence report between Sandy and her daughter, and again for a custody exchange. Obviously, for reasons that have yet to be revealed entirely, Sandy did not want her grandchildren back under Mandy’s roof.
She was so against it, she and her son planned the murder-suicide in advance. They picked the children up from school that morning after their mother had dropped them off and brought them to Sandy’s home. The letters Randy would later find were written, some by the children, and they all went inside the garage were Sandy and Andy had disabled the garage door opener, barricaded the entrances, and nailed plywood over the windows.
Sandy, Andy, and the three children would climb into the backseat of the car and place two dogs and a cat in the front seat. They would all would eventually succumb to the deadly fumes. If there is any consolation at all to this story, it would be that the children’s deaths were not painful and police say it doesn’t look as if the kids were forced into the car.
“There’s years and years of experience here [at the Toledo Police Department], and we’ve been at a complete loss as to how you can have two adults conspire to kill three children,” Toledo police Sgt. Tim Noble said. “It’s really hard to comprehend.”
I really, really want to know what the hell was happening with that 9-year-old that led Sandy and her son to believe killing herself and the children was a better alternative than letting them live with their mother.