Father of Cape Coral boys who died in canal crash is wanted in Michigan

The father of two boys who died after their car went into a canal in Cape Coral is wanted in Michigan.

The chief in Mount Morris Township, Michigan, says Kenneth Lawson is being investigated there after getting into an argument with a woman in front of two kids and shoving her. When one kid grabbed a knife to protect his mom, Lawson reacted angrily.

Mount Morris Police Chief Michael Veach said, “He then walks through the house with a gun trying to intimidate the kids and the woman. At one point, he goes into the kitchen and starts firing rounds off in the house. Kid had to get stitches because he pistol-whipped him.”

Lawson’s two sons, Titus and John Wayne, who were just 10 and 7 years old, died in a canal crash early Thanksgiving Day.

Veach also said Lawson took off after the attack at the home.

While there are 14 warrants out for Lawson’s arrest, police in Cape Coral can’t touch him. Those warrants are in-state warrants, meaning police can only make an arrest if he returns to Michigan. Veach says that was the prosecutor’s decision.

We reached out to learn why they chose an in-state warrant but did not hear back.

Cape Coral police are in no rush to make an arrest because they still have many questions, including who was driving at the time the car crashed into the canal. They don’t know if it was Lawson or the woman in the car, Julia Drudy.

“When we think about investigating a traffic crash, especially this one, we don’t just look at where they left the roadway and where the vehicle went in,” said Sgt. Patrick O’Grady.

“We think about where they were three or four hours ago and then we work it to the second we got on scene and the first word we asked them. We want to know their whole day.”

Good Samaritan Tyler Ravert jumped into the canal in an attempt to save the boys. He set up crosses at the scene to honor the kids, yet he wonders why their father didn’t try to do anything.

“Why didn’t you try to get them out? I stayed, and you were on the bank saying, ‘Screw it; screw it; I can’t get them.’ It’s angering,” Ravert said. “Lord, take care of these children as they are with You in Heaven.”

The mother of the two boys went to thank Ravert on Monday for trying to save her children’s lives. Although Ravert did not discuss his conversation with the mom out of respect, he says this is a tragedy that hits close to home.

“It does hit me in a personal way because I don’t know how I would react if I lost my children,” Ravert said. “I would probably lose it.”

Former Judge Jeffrey Swartz, a professor at WMU-Cooley Law School, spoke to us about the nature of the warrants against Lawson.

“The prosecutor and the police have made the decision that, if he is caught out of state, they are not going to extradite him,” Swartz explained. “Police officers have to come down here and transport the defendant up there, and it’s all a very expensive proposition.”

CCPD continues to investigate the crash.

Ravert says he will continue to add light to a dark place. He plans to put candles at the crosses he placed at the scene and whisper prayers for the young boys when he visits.

“Just for people to remember that two boys lost their lives here and the way it happened, shouldn’t have happened.”

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Breana Ross
Writer:Drew Hill
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