Five members of the same family were found dead inside a garage in Ohio this week. Grandmother Sandy Ford, her adult son Andy, and Sandy's three young grandchildren were all discovered dead because of an apparent carbon-monoxide poisoning. And now let's drop the other shoe: Sandy was in the middle of a custody battle with her daughter, Mandy Hayes, who wanted her kids back.
Sadly, tragically, that battle is over. Ten-year-old Paige Hayes, 6-year-old Logan Hayes, and 5-year-old Madalyn Hayes are all dead. And police are now saying this whole thing might be a case of a murder-suicide.
Who is responsible for leaving strange notes in the house and barricading the family inside the garage is still up in the air, but it doesn't matter, does it? Sadly, five members of a family are gone. Three innocent children are dead. And for what?
So that Mandy Hayes and husband Chris can't get their kids back from granny? So that Mandy and her dad, Randy, have to go on without five beloved members of their family?
We have seen these sort of cases happen all too often in custody disputes. Usually it's one parent exacting some sort of sick revenge on the other parent. The fact that this was likely either a grandmother or an uncle doing this doesn't change that it's depraved.
Custody is all about the "best interests" of a child. The battles get intense because children are so important to us as people, but still, the reason the concept of custody exists is because kids are supposed to come first.
I'm lucky enough to say I've never been in the midst of a custody dispute, so I'll admit I come to this situation with a limited amount of knowledge. But I am a parent. Heck, I'm a human being. And I think back to that old story of Solomon telling two women to split a baby in half to solve their dispute over motherhood.
When it came down to it, the real mother was willing to give in and allow her child to be taken away because she knew her child was better off alive. That's the way it should always be. Kids, common sense tells us, are better off alive. Period.
If only people would put the true interests of children first, maybe we could end this horrible trend. Maybe this family in Ohio would still be alive.
Have you ever tried to make sense of why people do this? What do you think is behind it?
Image via conner395/Flickr