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Woman identifies 3 who died in car; no details a week later

November 11, 2021 GMT

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Three people found dead in a car in Grand Rapids a week ago have been identified as a 78-year-old woman, her daughter-in-law and a child, a family member said.

Police have released few details about the deaths, which occurred Nov. 4.

“We can’t believe that it happened,” Nicole Dantzler told

She said the oldest of the three was her grandmother, Ruby Roberts. The others were Ellay Mae Brown, 60, and Zaida Ashford, who was 4 months old.

They were discovered in a car outside Roberts’ home. Dantzler said police told the family that they’re still investigating.

“We were shocked. It was just like a movie. ... We know they’re gone but it’s hurting us real bad,” Dantzler said. “Some of us, it hasn’t even hit yet.”


Dantzler said her grandmother kept the large family together, singing and dancing at gatherings and pledging to live for many more years. Brown was Roberts’ daughter-in-law. They both held Bible studies at Roberts’ home.

“They would do anything for anyone. Give money out of their own pockets,” Dantzler said.

Funerals were planned for Monday.