A mother and her two children were found frozen to death in a field outside Detroit after the woman allegedly suffered a mental health crisis.
The Michigan mother was identified as 36-year-old Monica Latrice Cannady. She and her two children, 9-year-old Kyle and 3-year-old Malik, were located a mile from their apartment in Pontiac, a Detroit suburb.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said that the Sheriff’s office had dispatched officers to the area previously after receiving reports of people being outdoors and underdressed. Each time deputies responded; however, no one was spotted in the said location.
Bouchard explained that at the time they had no reason to investigate any further as the family was not known to have been missing at that point. It was only later that they were able to connect the dots.
“She believed someone was trying to kill her and everybody was in on it … including police,” said Bouchard, speaking of Cannady. A surviving 10-year-old daughter also reportedly told investigators that the mother had instructed the children to flee if approached by anyone.
The family was found after the daughter went and knocked on a door asking for help, saying “her family was dead.” She was taken to the hospital afterward and is in stable condition.
According to Bouchard, the family had been wandering since Friday. Then the mother told her children to lie down and rest in a field near Crystal Lake, causing hypothermia to set in.
Bouchard suggested, “We’re seeing death every day as a result of the mental health crisis in this country.”
“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 added. “We would have known it was something more.”
Relatives of the deceased later told law enforcement that they believe Cannady’s mental health crisis started a few weeks ago, potentially instigated by the alleged killer of the children’s father going on trial.
As the crisis was developing, “Family members attempted to get her help, but she refused, and she fled with the children,” Bouchard suggested.
Bouchard noted to reporters that the steady influx of calls related to suicides and overdoses received by his office attest to the growing need for improved mental health services.