Autopsies of five family members who were found crowded into the back seat of a car parked inside a West Toledo garage Monday confirmed that carbon-monoxide poisoning caused their deaths, according to preliminary reports.
The autopsies of Sandy Ford, 56; Andy Ford, 32; Paige Hayes, 10; Logan Hayes, 7; and Madalyn Hayes, 5, were completed Tuesday and Wednesday, said Dr. Cynthia Beisser, Lucas County deputy coroner. Mrs. Ford and Mr. Ford are the children’s maternal grandmother and uncle.
The autopsies did not reveal much else about the deaths. Officials said it could be six to eight weeks before toxicology results are available, which could show whether any of the deceased had drugs in their system at the times of their deaths.
Police have said since Monday that the five died of carbon monoxide poisoning, suggested by the scene police and fire crews found in the Harvest Lane garage, after receiving a 911 call from Mrs. Ford’s husband, Randy Ford, 60, when he returned home from work and found “suspicious” notes.
Toledo firefighters broke into the garage using a sledgehammer and found the five sitting in a Honda Civic rigged with hoses that piped in fumes from the tailpipe of a running truck, also parked in the garage. The five were pronounced dead at the scene.
Dr. Beisser said there was no way to tell how long the bodies had been in the garage or what time the five died. She said the children were not restrained in any way.
The children had lived with their grandparents and uncle since 2009 so their parents, Mandy and Chris Hayes, could focus on a son, now 9, who had behavioral issues.
Last week, the children moved back to their parents’ Sylvania Township home, apparently against Mrs. Ford’s wishes.
Mrs. Hayes dropped off the three children at Whiteford Elementary School at 8:20 a.m. Monday, according to a Sylvania Township police report.
About 10 a.m., school officials called Mrs. Hayes to say the children had not arrived at their classes, the report states.
Officials determined that Mrs. Ford had driven a blue Honda Civic, registered to Andy Ford, to the school and waited in the school’s lobby for the children. When they arrived, she took them from the building and apparently drove them back to her West Toledo home.
Sylvania Township police Chief Robert Boehme said an officer went to the Harvest Lane home several times Monday but got no answer at the door. A statewide all-points bulletin, asking law enforcement to be on the lookout for the children, was also issued. The report indicates Mrs. Hayes suspected from the start that her mother took the children from school without permission.
A Hayes Children Memorial Fund memorial fund has been set up at PNC Bank. Contributions can be dropped off at any branch.
Contact Taylor Dungjen at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @tdungjen_blade.