Five people found dead in an Ohio garage are believed to be the victims of a murder-suicide involving carbon monoxide poisoning, according to police.
The victims were three children, their uncle, and their grandmother, who were found inside a running vehicle with hoses running from the exhaust pipe into the cab of the truck, reports Fox News.
The five people found dead have been identified as 54-year-old Sandy Ford; her 32-year-old son, Andy Ford; and Sandy’s grandchildren, 10-year-old Paige Hayes, six-year-old Logan Hayes, and five-year-old Madalyn Hayes.
The suspected murder-suicide took place as the family is in the middle of a bitter custody battle. Sandy Ford’s husband, Randy, called police when he returned home on Monday afternoon and found suspicious notes in the house from his wife, son, and grandchildren.
Ford also told police that he was unable to enter the garage. Firefighters had to use a sledgehammer to break into a door in the garage, which was barricaded shut from the inside. The bodies of the five people were found inside the garage, along with to dogs and one cat.
Initial investigation has lead police to believe all five people died from carbon monoxide poisoning, though autopsies will likely be required to determine cause of death.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution notes that the five people found dead in the Ohio garage lived with Randy Ford in the house, which is located in a residential neighborhood near the border with Michigan.
Police spokesman Sergeant Joe Hefferman stated that Sandy Ford has taken primary care of the children for the past four years, though their parents, Mandy and Chris Hayes, have been trying to regain full custody of the three children.
Hefferman believes that Sandy Ford was upset about the custody battle and the thought that the children may be taken away from her. He believes that this is the motive for the suspected murder-suicide on Monday.
Doug Hall, a neighbor of the Fords who lives across the street, stated that he saw the Fords’ son Andy and the children raking leaves together last week. The only unusual thing he saw recently was a police car at the residence last Thursday, though he was not sure why it was there.
Another neighbor, Eric Pieper, stated that he also saw the three children helping with yard work and playing in the leaves a few days ago. Pieper stated, “One minute they’re doing the leaves, and then the next there are cop cars all over.” An investigation is ongoing to discover the motive behind the five people who were found dead in the Ohio garage.