Five Dead In Ohio Garage: Whiteford Elementary School Offering Student, Staff Counseling After Apparent Murder-Suicide

By Jason Van Hoven on November 13, 2012 9:20 AM EST

Whiteford Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio is offering student and staff counseling after five people, including three children who attended Whiteford, were found dead in an Ohio garage on Monday in an apparent murder-suicide involving carbon monoxide poisoning, according to The Associated Press.

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Toledo police believe that the five people -- three children, identified as 10-year-old Paige Hayes, six-year-old Logan Hayes and five-year-old Madalyn Hayes; their uncle, identified as 32-year-old son, Andy Ford; and their grandmother, identified as 54-year-old Sandy Ford -- died in a possible murder-suicide amid a custody dispute. All of the victims lived with Sandy Ford's husband, Randy Ford, in a house located in a residential neighborhood close to the Michigan state line.

Randy Ford was the one to call police on Monday afternoon to say that when he had returned home, he had found suspicious notes in the house from all of the victims. He also said that he wasn't able to enter the garage. After firefighters used a sledgehammer to force open the garage door, which had been barricaded shut, a truck was also found running with hoses leading from its exhaust into a car in the family's garage.

Sgt. Joe Heffernan, who didn't have much information about the case but called it "a horrible tragedy," said that Sandy Ford had primarily taken care of her grandchildren at her residence since 2009, but their parents -- the Fords' daughter, Mandy Hayes, and the children's father, Chris Hayes, were trying to regain full custody. Heffernan went on to say that Sandy Ford was upset about that, and he believes that such anger was the motive for a murder-suicide.

The apparent murder-suicide may have been the tipping point. Heffernan told The Toledo Blade that Toledo police were called to the Ford home twice last week, once on Nov. 6 to quell a domestic violence issue concerning Sandy Ford and her daughter Mandy and again on Nov. 8 for a custody exchange.

Sylvania Schools Superintendent Brad Rieger told The Blade that Sandy Ford's three grandchildren were enrolled in Whiteford Elementary School. Paige was a fifth grader, Logan was in second grade, and Madalyn was in kindergarten. They also have a nine-year-old sister, Blake, who attends Hillview Elementary School.

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