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Published: Thursday, 12/27/2012

Carbon monoxide listed as official cause of deaths of 5 who died in West Toledo


More than a month after five people, including three children, were found dead in a parked car in a West Toledo garage, officials have learned that none of those involved had drugs in their systems.

With the results of toxicology tests for Paige Hayes, 10; Logan Hayes, 7; Madalyn Hayes, 5; Sandy Ford, 56; and Andy Ford, 32, the official cause of their deaths has been listed as carbon monoxide poisoning, Lucas County Deputy Coroner Dr. Cynthia Beisser said Wednesday.

Toxicology results typically take six to eight weeks after an autopsy is performed.

The five were found crowded into the back seat of a car in the 5100 block of Harvest Lane that had been rigged with hoses pumping in toxic exhaust from the tailpipe of a running truck, also in the garage.

Mrs. Ford, the children’s grandmother, and her husband, Randy, 60, had been the children’s primary caregivers since 2009. The younger Mr. Ford, the children’s uncle, lived at his parents’ home.

Chris and Mandy Hayes, the three children’s parents, had asked the Fords to take the children in so they could focus extra attention on raising a fourth child with “behavioral issues.”

The Fords never had court-ordered custody and had no legal say concerning who ended up with the children.

Mrs. Hayes told her mother this year she wanted Paige, Logan, and Madalyn to move back in with the Hayeses, which apparently upset Mrs. Ford.

On Nov. 12, Mrs. Hayes dropped off her children at school unaware that Mrs. Ford was waiting in a school lobby. Mrs. Ford took the children back to the Harvest Lane home and, at some point in the day, got everyone into the car.

When Mrs. Ford’s husband returned home from work that afternoon, he found notes indicating the five were dead. When he couldn’t enter the family’s unattached garage, he called police.

The notes have never been made public and officials have declined to describe them. They did say that at least one note was written from each of the deceased.

The Hayeses could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

In a November interview, Mr. Hayes said he had questions about the incident but that his focus at the time was on his family and his gratitude for community support.

He said then he wanted to look at police reports and “see what they have to say.”

“There’s questions I have that are unanswered, and at a later date I will pursue to get the answers,” he said last month, declining to elaborate.

Staff writer Vanessa McCray contributed to this report.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.

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