New questions surround death of mother, 2 sons who froze to death in Pontiac field

Family has started a GoFundMe to pay for funeral expenses

PONTIAC, Mich. – New information surfaced in the horrifying case that continues to unfold in Pontiac as the brother of the woman found in the cold with her two young children spoke out about what occurred and how mental illness played a role.

The family of Monica Cannady said she wasn’t acting like herself in the days before her death.

“I really want answers because that’s not her,” said the victim’s brother Andre Harsten.

Oakland County deputies found Cannady and her two sons in a field after they froze to death over the weekend.

Harsten told Local 4 Cannady wasn’t acting like herself and was a great mother.

“She took care of them, babies,” Harsten said. “That was her main priority.”

Read: Everything we know after mother, 2 young sons freeze to death in Pontiac woods

Harsten said his mom noticed Cannady’s behavior change in the days before her death. The family described her behavior as extremely paranoid.

“Talking to herself saying she felt like there were microchips in the phone, so she walked over to (my mom’s) house to talk to her instead of calling her,” Harsten said.

Harsten said his sister had been living in the same apartment for five years and had just bought a new car.

“Everybody I see on Facebook bashing saying she was homeless, she’s not homeless,” Harsten said.

Harsten said his mom tried to get Cannady help, but she refused.

Harsten’s family is grieving the loss of Cannady and her two young sons, Kyle, nine, and Malik, three.

“They was smart, so smart, and they were getting so big,” Harsten said.

The surviving 10-year-old daughter, Lillie, who went to get help, remains in the hospital being treated for hypothermia.

“We got to put all our love into Lillie right now,” Harsten said. “That’s all we can do is love and love and love on her.”

The family has started a GoFundMe to pay for funeral expenses and to help Lillie.

Resources to call for help in mental health crisis:

There is a 24-hour crisis helpline at 1 800-231-1127 and a non-emergency number at 248-464-6363.

About the Authors:

Jacqueline Francis is an award-winning journalist who joined the WDIV team in September 2022. Prior to Local 4, she reported for the NBC affiliate in West Michigan. When she’s not on the job, Jacqueline enjoys taking advantage of all the wonders Michigan has to offer, from ski trips up north to beach days with her dog, Ace.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.