A 10-year-old Michigan girl has tragically lost her mother and her two brothers after her mother experienced what officials have called “a mental health crisis.”
For the past few weeks, 35-year-old Monica Cannady of Pontiac, Michigan, had been acting strangely. Relatives living in the area claimed that she had become “extremely paranoid” and that they had tried to intervene, but Cannady had ignored them. Neighbors had also reported seeing a woman and her children severely underdressed for the Michigan winter weather, but when officers went to the area to investigate, they could not find anyone who fit that description.
Sometime last week, Cannady took her three children — 3-year-old Malik Milton, 9-year-old Kyle Milton, and 10-year-old Lilly — out into the elements. Though the family still lived in the same Pontiac apartment where they had been for six years, they wandered about the city, knocking on doors and asking strangers for food. One man claimed he had offered Cannady money, but that she had refused it.
After being outdoors for perhaps as long as three days, Cannady and her children came to a field near the former Lakeside Housing Projects at Crystal Lake. Cannady then told them all to lie down and go to sleep. On January 15, Lilly woke up in the field and discovered that her mom and two brothers were unresponsive. She then walked to a nearby residence and told the inhabitants that her family was “dead.”
When police arrived at the scene, the found the dead bodies of Cannady, Malik, and Kyle. Autopsy reports indicated that all three had died of hypothermia. Lilly is currently receiving treatment for hypothermia symptoms at a local hospital. She is expected to survive and to live with relatives. A GoFundMe account has been established on her behalf.
“The girl that survived woke up. No one else did,” said Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
Bouchard also added context to the story: “This tragedy was based in a mental health crisis. The woman, mom, was having a mental health crisis. She believes someone was trying to kill her and that everybody was in on it.”
He then claimed that Cannady had told her children to run and hide if anyone ever approached them, which may explain why officers were unable to locate any underdressed persons, as had been reported to them.
The children’s paternal step-grandmother said she had no idea that Cannady was in such a troubling mental state. “She was a good mama,” Theresa Milton claimed. “She took care of her babies. They were dressed warm, they had clothes always matching, hair done. They were clean.”
Cannady’s brother, Andre Harsten, is heartbroken about the death of his nephews. “They was amazing, so smart,” Harsten said. “And it’s just so sad that they were so young, didn’t even get to experience life yet.”
Harsten also claimed that he had never seen his sister behave that way. “I just want to know what happened,” he stated. “What was in her system? I need answers to that so I can know what type of state of mind she was in. This never, ever has been her.”
The children’s father, Kyle Milton, was murdered in November 2021, and a suspect in the case is currently standing trial.
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