A 10-year-old Michigan girl has been tragically left alone after her mother experienced what officials have called “a mental health crisis,” dying and taking her two sons with her.
For the past few weeks, 35-year-old Monica Cannady of Pontiac, Michigan, had been acting strangely, with relatives who lived near her, claiming she had become “extremely paranoid,” and attempting to intervene. Cannady had ignored them.
Additionally, neighbors had reported seeing a woman and her children severely underdressed for winter weather in the freezing state, but whenever officers would go to the area to investigate, they were unable to locate anyone fitting the description.
Sometime in the past week, Cannady took her three children, 3-year-old Malik Milton, 9-year-old Kyle Milton, and 10-year-old Lilly away from the Pontiac apartment where they had lived for six years and into the world. In spite of the fact that the family still lived in the apartment, they wandered through the city, knocking on doors and asking strangers for food. One man who had seen them offered Cannady money, but she had refused it.
After they had spent up to three days outdoors, Cannady brought her children to a field near the former Lakeside Housing Projects at Crystal Lake and told them all to lie down and go to sleep.
On January 15, Lilly woke up in the field and discovered her mother and two brothers unresponsive. She then walked to a nearby residence, telling the inhabitants that her “family was dead in a field.”
When police arrived at the scene, they discovered the dead bodies of Cannady and her sons. Autopsy reports indicated that all three had died of hypothermia. Lilly is now receiving treatment for hypothermia symptoms at a local hospital and is expected to survive. She will go to live with relatives after the tragedy.
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 explained further the background to the deaths, saying, “This tragedy was based on 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.”
Bouchard claimed that Cannady had told her children to run and hide if anyone approached them, which may explain why officers were never able to locate the underdressed persons.
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, the children’s paternal step-grandmother, claimed. “She took care of her babies. They were dressed warm, they had clothes always matching, hair done. They were clean.” Milton added that she had no idea that Cannady was in such a troubling mental state.
Cannady’s brother, Andre Harsten, expressed heartbreak at 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 said he had never seen Cannady behave in a way that would lead to her children’s death. “I just want to know what happened,” he said. “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 lost their father, Kyle Milton, after he was murdered in November 2021. The suspect in the case is currently standing trial.