TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Toledo News Now's Chrys Peterson sat down with Mandy and Chris Hayes Wednesday; just days after three of their five children were killed in an apparent murder suicide. Worse, police say it was Mandy's own mother and brother who were responsible for their deaths.
Toledo Police say they responded to a home on Harvest Street in west Toledo just before 3:30 p.m. Monday. Randy Ford, 56, called police after returning home to find suspicious notes from this wife, son and grandchildren. Ford told police he was unable to get into the home's garage.
When police and fire crews arrived, they used a sludge hammer to gain access to the garage. There they found Ford's wife, Sandy Ford, 54, his son, Andy Ford, 32, and Ford's grandchildren, Paige Hayes, 10, Logan Hayes, 6, and Madalyn Hayes, 5, deceased. The five, along with two dogs and a cat, were found inside a car. Police say a hose had been run from the exhaust pipe of an idling pickup truck into the window of the car.
Both parents say they had absolutely no warning something was wrong. They say the three children had been living with their grandparents, Randy and Sandy Ford, for the past three and a half years while they focused on one of their other children, who was having medical problems. The three children had just moved back in with their parents on Thursday.
"It never was estranged. My mom was my best friend. And my brother, we were very close. It's just. I don't know what happened. They weren't in their right mind. That's all I can say. Something snapped where…it just…I don't know. I can't explain it really," said Mandy.
"I think she really did not want those kids to ever come home," said Chris. "She felt that she was their mother."
Mandy says she received a call that her children were not in school after dropping them off there on Monday, and immediately knew something was wrong. It appears Sandy Ford was on a list of people approved to pick the children up at school, and did just that on Monday morning.
"I called the police, and an officer came out. I figured it was my mom that had snatched them, but they went to the school. Detectives took video and saw that, yes, it was her in the foyer and she took them back out of the school. In the meantime, the whole day [I] just keep waiting, calling this officer. You know, pleading. 'Do something," Mandy Hayes said. "As the time kept going on, and it was getting longer and longer, I'm thinking 'they're not dumb people'. They're knowing the consequences they're facing for kidnapping my kids. As the time kept going it was making me more and more freaked out that something bad was going to happen."
Police say Sandy Ford and the children left letters behind, but Mandy says she has not seen them yet.
Chris Hayes, the children's father, says he also had a feeling their grandmother was involved when his wife called to say the children were missing.
"[I thought] that she (Sandy) kidnapped them. Where did they go?" Chris said. "She (Mandy) said she called the cops. The cops went to the school and took the video tape saying that it was her that did it. I told my wife to keep calling the police. Tell them 'find out what car they're in, if they're going anywhere, get them. You know, Amber Alert, something. The police wouldn't move on it."
The couple has two other children, 9-year-old Blake and 10-month-old Jaden, who were not involved in the incident. Chris says Blake is missing his sisters and brother terribly.
"He lost his play partners; his buddy and his two sisters. He lost his friends and there's not a night that hasn't went by…I thought it would be bad for my wife, but it's really hard on him," Chris said.