Mental illness led to the deaths of a mother and two children who died of hypothermia in Pontiac. The woman's 10-year-old daughter had attempted to get help for the family.

Monica Cannady and her two young boys were found in a wooded area of Pontiac on Sunday (1/15), roughly a mile from their home. Investigators believe the family had been outside in the cold for several days.

Neighbors Attempted to Help

Neighbors and family members say Cannady had become extremely paranoid and believed people were out to get her. One neighbor told Detroit's WDIV-TV that family members attempted to intervene but she brushed them off. One neighbor said the 35-year-old woman was offered money by another neighbor but she refused to accept help.

Residents Reported Seeing the Family Out in the Cold

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said his office received calls about the situation but deputies were unable to locate the family.

 "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."

On Saturday night, Cannady instructed her children to lie down and sleep in an overgrown field in Pontiac. She had instructed her children to run if they were approached.

Cannady and her two sons aged nine and three died of hypothermia in the field.

The woman's 10-year-old daughter Lillie was the only survivor. She ran to a nearby house to get help Sunday morning after realizing that her mother and brothers had passed away.

The girl is being treated at a local hospital and is in the care of her grandmother.

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