TOLEDO, Ohio, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The deaths of three children and two adults may have been a murder-suicide in a custody dispute involving another family member, police in Toledo, Ohio, said.
A Toledo woman, her adult son and three children -- identified as woman's grandchildren and nieces of the other adult -- were found dead Monday inside a car parked in the family's attached garage, The Blade reported.
Police identified the family members as Sandy Ford, 56; Andy Ford, 32; Paige Hayes, 10; Logan Hayes, 7; and Madalyn Hayes, 5.
Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said officers were called by Randy Ford, 60, Sandy Ford's husband, requesting a welfare check. Heffernan said Randy Ford returned home from work Monday afternoon and found notes from his wife, son and grandchildren.
Police said Sandy Ford was the children's primary care-giver and that Andy Ford lived in the home. The children's parents, who lived elsewhere, were working to obtain full custody of the children, which police said led the two adults to conspire in killing the children and themselves.
Police had been called to the home twice in the previous two weeks: Once for a domestic dispute between Sandy Ford and her daughter, Mandy Hayes. The second time was for a custody exchange.
Heffernan said carbon monoxide poisoning was suspected as the cause of the deaths. When police broke into the barricaded garage, they found the victims, along with three dead pets, in a car. Hoses were running from the exhaust of a truck also parked in the garage into the cab of the car, police said.
Dean Sparks, executive director of Lucas County Children Services, told The Blade the children were placed in the Fords' custody in 2009.
School officials said grief counselors would be on hand to talk with staff and students upset by the tragedy.
"The loss of life, especially of a young person, is such a tragedy that words cannot even express it. Our hearts go out to the family and also the Whiteford school community as we wrestle with this tragic loss," Sylvania Schools Superintendent Brad Rieger said.