Timeline outlines Pontiac woman’s activity, contact with deputies before she, 2 sons froze to death

Monica Cannady, 2 sons froze to death in Pontiac field

PONTIAC, Mich.Oakland County officials released a detailed timeline that outlines a Pontiac woman’s activity and contact with deputies in the days leading up to when she and her two sons froze to death in a field.

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

Monica Cannady, 35, of Pontiac, and her two sons, 9-year-old Kyle Milton and 3-year-old Malik Milton, were found dead around 3:10 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 15) in a vacant field off of Branch Street.

Her daughter, 10-year-old Lillie, survived and was taken to the hospital with hypothermia-like symptoms.

On Wednesday, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard released a timeline detailing Cannady’s activity in the days leading up to her death, including multiple points of contact with deputies.

MORE: Oakland County deputy being investigated after incomplete search for mom, 2 sons who froze to death

“I wanted a deeper dive that would potentially find ways to prevent such a tragedy in the future,” Bouchard said. “I ordered a complete review of all calls, radio traffic, a canvas of the neighborhood and any potential interactions with Monica Latrice Cannady and her children.”

1 p.m. Friday

Oakland County deputies were first notified at 1 p.m. Friday that Cannady and her children had sought help at a location on Mill Street in Downtown Pontiac.

Deputies deployed a drone to search for the family.

1:10 p.m. Friday

Within 10 minutes, a deputy found Cannady with her three children near Water and Mill streets. He asked if she needed help, and she said she was OK and quickly walked away, according to authorities.

1:15 p.m. Friday

Five minutes later, a second deputy encountered Cannady inside McLaren Oakland Hospital in Pontiac. He questioned her in-depth to see if she and her children were OK and to find out if they needed help, according to Bouchard.

When the deputy offered help, Cannady said she was fine and had completed a medical visit for her son. She said she was waiting for a ride that was already arranged, authorities said.

After the conversation, Cannady and her children left the hospital, with the deputy following them down Woodward Avenue. He tried to convince her to come to the Pontiac substation or get inside the patrol car to escape the elements, Bouchard said.

Police said the deputy told Cannady multiple times that she was not in trouble, but he simply wanted to help.

Cannady was wearing a coat, and the children were wearing sweatshirts, officials said. The children were also wrapped in white bed sheets.

Cannady continued to refuse all offers for help, according to Bouchard.

The deputy maintained contact with Cannady and followed her to a nearby school. He offered to take the family to the substation and give them coats, but Cannady declined, authorities said.

She said she had family nearby and walked away, the deputy said. He spent about 20 minutes with Cannady until 1:30 p.m.

“In those conversations, she was lucid, did not appear to be suffering from any medical or mental health crisis, and asked several times to be left alone,” a release from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says.

3:30 p.m. Friday

About two hours later, Cannady’s family said she and her children went to her mother’s apartment.

The children took a nap, but after 30 minutes, Cannady woke them up to leave because she and her mother had gotten into an argument about Cannady’s mental state, according to authorities.

Family members later told deputies that Cannady had been having mental health problems for the past three weeks.

4:30 p.m. Friday

Around 4:30 p.m. Friday, deputies met with Cannady’s aunt, who asked for advice on how to properly commit her to a treatment facility.

Deputies went to Cannady’s apartment on North Perry Street for a welfare check, but it appeared nobody was inside, they said.

4:43 p.m. Friday

Right around the same time that deputies were meeting with the aunt, officials learned that a woman was walking with several children in the area of Franklin Road and Rapid Street in Pontiac, police said. The caller told police that the children were not properly dressed for the cold weather.

“A deputy responded to the call for an area check but did not completely search the area as he was expected to and did not find or make contact with the family,” the release says. “His performance is now under investigation by the sheriff’s office Special Investigations Unit.”

5:20 p.m. Friday

Two deputies were ordered around 5:20 p.m. to return to the area of Franklin Road and Rapid Street to search for Cannady and her children.

5:40 p.m. Friday

After almost 20 minutes, a complete perimeter search had been completed, and the family was not found, Bouchard said.

7:33 p.m. Friday

A couple hours later, three deputies were again sent to the area of Franklin Road and Rapid Street to search for the family.

8:06 p.m. Friday

The final search of the area ended without Cannady and her children being found, police said.

4 p.m. Saturday

Police said they didn’t receive any calls about Cannady or her children on Saturday, but residents said she knocked on the door of a home in the 200 block of Branch Street around 4 p.m.

When a resident answered, Cannady told that person she was at the wrong address and walked away, according to authorities. No call was made to police.

Detectives said the family didn’t have any other contact with them on Saturday.

3 p.m. Sunday

Cannady’s daughter, Lillie, knocked on the door of a home and told the occupants that her family was dead in a nearby field.

3:10 p.m. Sunday

Deputies found Cannady and her two sons lying on the ground in a vacant field that had once been the location of the Lakeside Housing Project.

After her death, investigators learned that Cannady had been the woman other deputies had previously encountered with the children. They said she believed someone was trying to kill her, and that police were involved in the conspiracy.

The children were told to run if they saw the police.

Investigators concluded the family had spent Saturday night into Sunday morning in a vacant field with the temperatures well below freezing.

Their deaths were ruled accidental, and the cause of death for all three was determined to be hypothermia.

Lillie remains in the hospital. She is stable and improving, police said. She will be discharged to family members when she is allowed to leave the hospital.

“It is clear, as a society, we need to find ways to better connect communication and the dots between families, mental health resources, social services, and law-enforcement to ensure people don’t fall through the cracks in the future like this tragic situation,” Bouchard said. “I renew my call for state and federal funding to embed social service and mental health practitioners into our agency that can be immediately brought into play in situations like this. Every day we respond to circumstances that those resources in combination could potentially be a real lifesaver. Our prayers go to the family and friends.”

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.