Oakland County sheriff's deputy resigns after Pontiac mom, kids die of hypothermia
An Oakland County sheriff's deputy has resigned amid an internal investigation into the search for a Pontiac mother and her children, who were later found dead from hypothermia in a field.
The internal investigation into the deputy's performance was announced a few days after Monica Cannady, 35, and her two sons, Kyle and Malik Milton — ages 9 and 13, respectively — froze to death in a Pontiac field near Branch Street and Gillespie Avenue. Cannady's only surviving child, a 10-year-old girl, woke up in the field next to them on Jan. 15 and sought help.
The deputy, who worked for the Sheriff's Office for less than two years, was sent to search for the family Jan. 13 after police dispatch received a call about Cannady and her children walking in the area of Rapid Street and Franklin Road underdressed in cold winter temperatures.
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While the Oakland County Sheriff's Office said the deputy did not violate any policies, his search for the family was inadequate and did not live up to the expectations of the Sheriff's Office.
Other deputies responded to the area later but did not find the family.
“After a deep dive and an exhaustive review of all the components of this tragedy, we did not uncover anything that would have altered this tragic outcome in that moment," said Steve Huber, a spokesperson for the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, in a statement. "After any major incident, we do an after action analysis and as part of that review it did uncover a deputy who did not act in as thorough and professional a manner as we expect from our people.
"Deputies before and after did respond appropriately. Our agency has a culture of service, and this new employee ... did not reflect that model."
The deputy resigned before the internal investigation was completed. His resignation concluded the investigation, Huber said.
Cannady was reportedly going through a mental health crisis and had been wandering around Pontiac with her three young children the weekend of Jan. 13. Cannady thought people were trying to kill her and that police were in on it, Oakland County authorities said.
The mother had reportedly told her children to rest in the field near Branch Street and Gillespie Avenue the evening of Jan. 14. The next morning, she and her two sons were found dead.
A timeline of events, released by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, indicates numerous calls made to deputies about Cannady and her children, and numerous attempts to help them by deputies and family members on Friday. Cannady refused all attempts by deputies to help the family, according to the Sheriff's Office.
A vigil for the family on Sunday emphasized the need to better help community members in crisis and invest in mental health resources.
Andrea Sahouri covers criminal justice for the Detroit Free Press. She can be contacted at 313-264-0442, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @andreamsahouri.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Monica Cannady, kids found frozen to death in Pontiac; deputy resigns