Custody dispute may have led to kids' deaths - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Custody dispute may have led to kids' deaths

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TOLEDO, Ohio -

Disputes surrounding the family involved in the carbon monoxide poisoning in Toledo did not start Monday night.

Paige Hayes, 10, Logan Hayes, 6, and Madalyn Hayes, 5, were all killed inside a garage on Harvest Lane in West Toledo.  Police believe their grandmother Sandy Ford, 54, and their uncle Andy Ford, 32, were involved in running a hose from one vehicle to another that killed the kids and themselves. 

Officials with Lucas County Children Services met with both families last week and also worked with them more than three years ago.

The first contact with Children Services was in 2009.  The kids' parents, Mandy and Chris Hayes reached out to the agency for help with behavior issues with one of their 5 kids.  To help alleviate some of the stress, the parents asked the grandparents to watch three of the children.  When the Hayes' wanted the kids back that's when we saw Monday's tragedy.

'That's not an unusual family situation. We see families feuding and fussing a lot," said Dean Sparks with Lucas County Children Services. 

This dispute went much further than anyone expected or imagined last Wednesday and Saturday when officials with Children Services visited both the parents and grandparents homes. 

"In this case we had just begun so we were in the process of trying to figure out what's the best way for any of us to act," said Sparks.

The three children who lost their lives lived on Harvest Lane sine 2009.  Sparks says the custody dispute triggered the Wednesday visits.

"This is reportedly a very similar to many situations we have, particularly if someone has been caring for the child for a while.  'I don't want them to go back, they're not ready.  They're not going to take as good of care of them as a I can,'" Sparks remarked. 

When Children Services visited the Hayes home Saturday, all the kids were with them.  The parents always maintained their legal parental rights.  The big question so many want answered is: 'What could have been so bad at the parents' house, that Sandy Ford, their grandmother, would want to take their lives?'

"We're only in this for a couple of days.  So when you're saying what's so bad about it, we don't know.  We only know there's a lot of conflict.  There were allegations back and forth," said Sparks.     

Children Services cannot prevent a removal, Sparks says they were working with other service providers to get this issue resolved.

There is one gap in the story no one is commenting on.  Between Saturday when the Hayes had the kids, and Monday when they were found dead at the grandparents home, the kids were moved to the grandparents home.  Police investigators won't say what exactly happened in that 3 day period.

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