Three caskets are carried one at a time from Olivet Lutheran Church in Sylvania, following a funeral service for Paige Hayes, 10, Logan Hayes, 7, and Madalyn Hayes, 5.
First was Madalyn Hayes, the youngest of the three.
Her big brother, Logan, followed. Paige, the oldest, came last.
Each time one of the small wooden caskets was pushed from church altar to the doors after the funeral service, their brother, Blake, walked silently next to them.
The children's parents, Chris and Mandy Hayes, walked quietly behind.
Funeral services for the Hayes children, found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning Nov. 12 in their grandparents' garage, were held Monday morning at Sylvania's Olivet Lutheran Church on Monroe Street.
About 100 people attended the solemn, hour-long service.
During the services, Pastor Chrysanne Timm told Mr. and Mrs. Hayes she “could feel the power of love” when she went into their Sylvania Township home last week.
Love, she continued, “never gives up,” emphasizing the the importance of love throughout the service.
Madalyn, 5, Logan, 7, and Paige, 10, were found in the back seat of a car in the garage on Harvest Lane in West Toledo along with their grandmother, Sandy Ford, 56, and uncle, Andy Ford, 32, in what police called a murder/suicide plot by the two adults.
The children had been living with their grandparents and uncle since 2009 so that Mr. and Mrs. Hayes could focus their attention on another sibling who had "behavioral issues," but had moved back into their Sylvania Township home Nov. 8.
On Nov. 12, after Mrs. Hayes dropped off the children at Whiteford Elementary School, Mrs. Ford, who was waiting for her grandchildren in the school lobby, picked them up and apparently took them back to her West Toledo home.
After the school later notified Mrs. Hayes that the children were not in class, she called Sylvania Township police. School surveillance video showed police the children left with Mrs. Ford.
An officer went to the Harvest Lane home several times Monday and attempted to reach Mrs. Ford, Mr. Ford, and Randy Ford, Mrs. Ford's husband, by phone. Randy Ford returned home from work that afternoon and soon after found "suspicious" notes left by his wife, son, and grandchildren.
He called 911 at 3:17 p.m.; at 3:26 p.m., police and fire crews arrived and broke into the garage where they found the five, all dead.
A neighbor of the family, Shelby Yeager, 17, wrote and read a poem, “Three Little Angels,” during the services.
Logan, Madalyn, and Paige Hayes.
“Up, up, up, all the way to heaven, three little children of a family of seven, Paige, Logan, and Madalyn, may you rest in peace above, spreading your wings and your unconditional love,” the Yeager youth read. The children's parents did not speak during the services.
After the services, the family and guests attended a luncheon at the church. There were no burial services afterward.
John Dowling, of Dowling Funeral Home, handled the funeral arrangements. On Saturday and Sunday, wakes – attended by 400 to 500 people – were held at the Sylvania funeral home, Mr. Dowling said.
The funeral home was decorated in artwork made by the children's schoolmates at Whiteford Elementary School.
“It was heartbreaking to read,” Mr. Dowling said. “ … It was truly a sad time. We lost three very viable people who probably would have contributed to society.”
Funeral services for the Fords were handled by Reeb Funeral Home in Sylvania. Additional details on the mother's and uncle's services were not made available.
Contact Taylor Dungjen at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6054 or on Twitter @tdungjen_blade.
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