Mother, 2 sons found dead; mental health crisis to blame, police say
A Pontiac mother was suffering a mental health crisis before she and her sons, ages…
A Pontiac mother was suffering a mental health crisis before she and her sons, ages 3 and 9, were found dead from hypothermia in a field on Sunday, according to Oakland County authorities.
Monica Latrice Cannady, “believed someone was trying to kill her and everybody was in on it … including police,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a Monday news conference. “Family members attempted to get her help, but she refused and she fled with the children.”
Cannady, Kyle and Malik Milton were found a mile from their apartment, near Orchard Lake Road and I-75, after Cannady’s daughter, 10, knocked on a door for help, reporting her “family was dead,” Bouchard said.
The family had been wandering since at least Friday when the mother told the kids to lay down and rest in a field in the 200 block of Branch Street, at the site of the former Lakeside Housing Projects near Crystal Lake, Bouchard said. The surviving girl woke up and is in stable condition in the hospital. Child Protective Services is involved and she’s expected to be released to family members.
According to Bouchard, Cannady’s mother said she’d begun acting strangely several weeks earlier. The father of her children was murdered in 2021 and his alleged killer had recently been on trial. Family members tried to connect Cannady with counseling or get her “committed,” but she refused, he said.
On Friday, Cannady briefly showed up at her mother’s home with the children cold and shivering, Bouchard said his office learned after the deaths. Over the weekend, deputies responded to “occasional” reports of people underdressed, but unaware a mother and children were missing, were unable to find anyone and did not deploy additional resources to do so. The surviving daughter told investigators Cannady had instructed the children to run when approached, Bouchard said.
More:Oakland County sex trafficker gets maximum sentences
More:County leaders in metro Detroit join forces to seek regional gains
The deaths could have been prevented with better communication, Bouchard said. He added that neither his office nor local mental health service agencies were contacted about the mother’s troubles.
“When the family knew a crisis was developing, if they’d called us or called (mental health care providers), then we would have popped up assets to look for the kids and the mom,” he said. “We would have known it was something more than … maybe somebody was walking down the street and didn’t have a coat on.”
Bouchard, a Republican who was appointed to the Michigan Senate in 1999 and served briefly, used the incident to call on state and federal officials to provide more funding for mental health services. His office, he said, responds “daily” to suicides and overdoses, which “oftentimes … are self-medication.”
“We’re seeing death every day as a result of the mental health crisis in this country,” he said. “And it sure would be nice if Washington and Lansing tuned in on that.”