A Michigan mother reportedly suffering from mental health issues was found frozen along with her two sons in a park in Pontiac on Sunday afternoon, after her surviving daughter sought help from a stranger.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the bodies of Monica Cannady, 35, and her sons and Malik Milton, 3, Kyle Milton, 9, all succumbed to hypothermia, an autopsy revealed.
Bodies Discovered By Authorities After Surviving Daughter Sought Help As Her Family Froze To Death
Authorities were alerted to the tragedy by Cannady’s 10-year-old daughter, who knocked on a door and said her family was dead nearby. The daughter is currently in stable condition at the hospital.
“This tragedy was based in a mental health crisis,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a press conference on Monday.
According to FOX 2 Detroit, Cannady allegedly believes someone was trying to kill her, prompting her to flee her apartment last week when family members began noticing her paranoid behavior.
On Saturday, Cannady and her children reportedly were seen knocking on doors and telling people they were hungry, however Cannady refused to accept any money and continued to wander aimlessly within the area.
Monica Cannady, 35,9-year-old brother Kyle Cannady and 3-year-old brother Malik Cannady had frozen to death in the night.https://t.co/s5aGZRtJvy#BlackGirlMagic #ProtectBlackWomen #MLKDay #FBACulture pic.twitter.com/qu3yCQQ6lU
— Bon Jour (@BlackinMexico) January 17, 2023
Authorities Say They Received Several Calls About Underdressed Family Outdoors, But Did Not Find Them
Sheriff Bouchard also noted that authorities had received several calls in recent days about a family – appearing to be underdressed – out in the cold.
Officers eventually searched the area, but they did not find the Cannady or her children.
FOX 2 Detroit reports that Cannady had previously told her children to run and hide should someone approach them. Sheriff Bouchard went on to say that she told them to lie on the ground and sleep prior to their freezing to death.
“The girl that survived woke up. No one else did,” Bouchard said, according to WXYZ.
Local Sheriff Calls For Increase In Funding For Mental Health Resources In Wake Of Recent Tragedy
Bouchard also called for an increase in funding for mental health resources.
“Mental health is one of the largest challenges of this time,” he said.
“The state and federal government needs to provide us with funding that allow us to perform more mental health services in partnership with the mental health community, including having more mental health practitioners on our team that can be part of a holistic response to mental health calls.”
On Sunday, the bodies of Monica Cannady and her two sons, 9-year-old Kyle Milton and 3-year-old Malik Milton, were found frozen to death in a field in Pontiac. Officials say a mental health crisis lead to this heart-breaking discovery.
— WXYZ Detroit (@wxyzdetroit) January 17, 2023
The tragedy now leaves Cannady’s daughter parentless and the sole survivor of the family. The children’s father, Kyle Milton, was reportedly murdered in 2021. His accused killer’s trial is already underway, per WXYZ.
Cannady Was “A Good Mother” And “Took Care Of Her Babies” Her Shocked Family Says
Family says Cannady was “a good mother, (and) took care of her babies, making this past weekend’s tragedy even more confusing for her loved ones.
“She was a good mama. She took care of her babies. They were dressed warm, they had clothes always matching, hair done, they were clean,” Kyle Milton’s stepmother, Theresa Milton, told the outlet of Cannady.
In fact, Milton said she had no knowledge of Cannady’s troubles with mental health, the outlet reports. Cannady’s brother, Andre Harsten, added that Cannady’s two boys were “amazing” and mourned that fact that they “didn’t even get to experience life year.”
“They was amazing, so smart, and it’s just so sad that they were so young, didn’t even get to experience life yet,” Harsten told FOX 2 Detroit.
Cannady’s Brother Says He Doesn’t Blame Her, Believes There Is More To The Story
Her brother went on today that he didn’t blame her, and believes there is more to the story than what’s being told thus far, noting “this (behavior) never, ever has been her.”
“And I wouldn’t blame her. I just want to know what happened. What was in her system? I need answers to that, so I can know what type of state of mind she was in. This never, ever has been her.”
A GoFundMe created by Cannady’s family has already raised nearly $7,000 out of a $50,000 goal.
Anyone experiencing mental health issues is urged to contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) by phone at (800) 662-4357.
SAMHSA runs a 24-hour mental health hotline that provides education, support, and connections to treatment. It also offers an online Behavioral Health Treatment Locator to help you find suitable behavioral health treatment programs.