Murder-suicide eyed in deaths of 5 in Ohio garage

November 13, 2012 - 12:34 AM
Bodies In House

Authorities respond to a report of carbon monoxide poisoning on Harvest Lane in Toledo, Ohio, on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012. The bodies of three children and two adults were found inside the garage Monday, and authorities said they believe the deaths — apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning — weren't accidental. (AP Photo/The Blade, Amy E. Voigt) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT; TV OUT; SENTINEL-TRIBUNE OUT; MONROE EVENING NEWS OUT; TOLEDO FREE PRESS OUT

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Three children, their uncle, and their grandmother were found dead inside a garage Monday in what appears to be a murder-suicide amid a custody dispute.

A truck was running with hoses leading from the exhaust into a car in the family's Toledo garage Monday. Inside the vehicle were the bodies of 54-year-old Sandy Ford; her 32-year-old son, Andy Ford; and her grandchildren, 10-year-old Paige Hayes, 6-year-old Logan Hayes and 5-year-old Madalyn Hayes, police said.

Sandy Ford's husband, Randy, called police Monday afternoon to say that he had returned home and found suspicious notes in the house from his wife, son and grandkids. He said he wasn't able to enter the garage.

Firefighters used a sledgehammer to open a door to the garage, which had been barricaded shut. The bodies of the five people, two dogs and one cat were found inside the car.

Investigators believe they died of carbon monoxide poisoning. The five victims lived with Randy Ford in the house, located in a residential neighborhood close to the Michigan state line.

Sgt. Joe Heffernan said Sandy Ford had primarily taken care of the children at her residence for the last four years, but their parents — the Fords' daughter, Mandy Hayes, and the children's father, Chris Hayes, were trying to regain full custody of them. He said Sandy Ford was upset about that, and he believes that was the motive for the murder-suicide.

Doug Hall, a neighbor who lives across the street, said he saw the Fords' son and the children raking leaves last week. He said the only unusual thing he's noticed was a police car at the house last Thursday. He said he didn't know why it was there.

Another neighbor said he saw the kids helping with the yard work and playing in the leaves just a few days ago.

"One minute they're doing the leaves, and then the next there are cop cars all over," Eric Pieper said.