A 2-year-old boy was found dead next to his unconscious mother in their home in Grimes, Iowa, on July 22.
Mason Wyckoff, whose parents had been engaged in a tense custody battle, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Daily Mail. His mother, 33-year-old Stephanie Erickson, was taken to a nearby hospital and is reportedly in critical condition.
Police are still investigating the toddler's death.
Mason's father, Dillon Wyckoff, said the tragedy could have been prevented.
"It's been a year-long battle with all this [custody] stuff, and it's been going downhill," he said. "They couldn’t do anything till something happened. We prayed and prayed it wouldn't be this."
"He was everything to me," Dillon added. "My whole world revolved around him. We were best friends."
He and Erickson had been together for four years. They broke up for good three months ago, according to the Daily Mail.
Michele Cunningham, Mason's grandmother, said she and her family feared something like this might happen.
"I tried contacting [the Department of Human Services]," she told the Des Moines Register. "We've dealt with over seven different police departments for over a year. They kept telling us that we had to wait for something to happen. And look what did."
Cunningham hopes her family's story will help raise awareness of the potential danger of leaving a child with a mentally unstable parent.
"Something that we want to happen is to change the process," she said. "Maybe we could call it 'Mason's Law' or something. It's in a bud right now, so we don’t know, but it's worth a try."
A vigil honoring Mason's life was held on July 24, according to the Des Moines Register. Around 60 people attended. They released blue balloons that said, "Fly high with the angels, sweet Mason."