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Bizarre Finding: Michigan 10-Year-Old Girl Lone Survivor After Mom and Siblings Freeze to Death In Open Field

A Michigan woman and two of her children were found frozen to death in a field in Pontiac on Jan. 15. A third child survived the freezing temperatures and was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

Monica Cannaday, 35, and two of her children, 9-year-old Kyle Milton and 3-year-old Malik Milton, died of hypothermia after sleeping outside in the wooded area near Gillespie Avenue and Branch Street, according to Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard.

The three bodies were found in a field Sunday afternoon near an abandoned vehicle near the former Lakeside Housing Projects at Crystal Lake.

Monica Cannaday
Monica Cannaday. (Photo: WDIV)

Cannaday’s daughter, 10-year-old Lily, survived the cold and went for help at a nearby home when she realized her mom and brothers had died. The authorities believe that Cannaday was suffering from a mental crisis following the murder of her children’s’ father, Kyle Milton, in 2021. The trial for the accused killer is currently underway.

Cannaday’s mother told the authorities that she noticed a significant change in Cannaday about three weeks ago. “This is a mental health crisis,” said Bouchard. “The woman, mom, was having a mental health crisis. She believed someone was trying to kill her and that everybody was in on it.”

Cannaday reportedly lived near the field where she was found and told her children to lie down and go to sleep while family members searched for her in the area. Bouchard added that her mother and family tried to get help for Cannaday as she became increasingly paranoid, but she refused and took off with her children.

“Over the course of a couple of days, we actually had been getting calls about a woman and kids not dressed appropriately for the conditions,” he said. “Deputies would go there, look all through the area and couldn’t find anybody.”

Bouchard added that Cannaday told her children to lie down. “The mom told them to lay down in the field. And they all did. The girl that survived woke up. No one else did.”

Cannaday was reportedly knocking on doors in the area on Saturday, Jan. 14. Charles Witherspoon told WDIV4 what his neighbor that spoke to Cannaday shared with him about the encounter.

“They were hungry,” he said. “I said, ‘What’d you do with ’em?’ And she said, ‘I didn’t let ’em in.’ But her brother, Arthur, he, she said, he tried to give the young lady some money, and she wouldn’t accept it, so they left there.”

Bouchard said that the tragedy is another example of how badly more funding is needed to combat mental health emergencies in the community. The sheriff added that people are dying every day from the mental health crisis.

“We’re seeing death every day as a result of the mental health crisis and it sure would be nice if Washington and Lansing tuned in on that.”

The children’s grandmother, Theresa Milton, said that she learned about Cannaday’s and the children’s deaths from her oldest daughter.

“My oldest daughter called me and said, ‘You know that is Monica’s body they found.’ And I dropped the phone and my stomach balled up in knots,” said Milton.

Milton added that she had no idea about Cannaday’s mental health issues and said she was a good mother. She had just seen Cannaday and the children around Thanksgiving and everything seemed fine.

“She was a good mama. She took care of her babies. They were dressed warm, they had clothes always matching, hair done, they were clean,” she said. “They were loved. Very loved by their family.” 

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