TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The mother of three children killed this week in what police believe was a murder-suicide said Wednesday her mother and brother weren't in their "right minds" when the deaths occurred.
Notes found at a Toledo house indicate the children's grandmother and uncle planned to kill themselves and the children by funneling fumes from a pickup truck into a car where their five bodies were found Monday, police said.
The children's mother, Mandy Hayes, told WTOL-TV in Toledo that her mom was her best friend and she was close to her brother.
The children, their 54-year-old grandmother Sandy Ford, and their 32-year-old uncle Andy Ford, died of carbon monoxide poisoning, a coroner ruled Wednesday in a finding that confirmed what investigators already suspected.
"I don't know what happened," Hayes said in an emotional interview. "They weren't in their right minds. That's all I can say. Something snapped, where it just — I don't know. I can't explain it, really."
Hayes' husband, Chris, drew a different conclusion.
"I think she really did not want those kids to ever come home, is what the deal was there," he said of the grandmother in the WTOL interview. "She felt that she was their mother."
Investigators and family friends say the murder-suicide appears to stem from a family disagreement over where the children should live.
For the past three years, the children ages 10, 7, and 5, lived with their grandmother. Mandy Hayes asked her mother to care for them after another son at home had behavior problems and was becoming disruptive, according to children services workers.
But within the past week, the children moved back into their parents' home, angering the grandmother who believed the youngsters would be better off with her, according to child welfare workers.