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Mother intentionally drove car off cliff and into water to kill herself and 3 children

By Mason White 5:12 PM October 29, 2017
Noel Bankhead and her 3 children
Noel Bankhead and her 3 children
By: Tanya Clark

A mother strapped her three young children into her car and drove off a cliff in order to commit suicide and take her kids with her, according to police in Idaho.

Ada County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) investigators have closed their investigation of the SUV crash into Lucky Peak that resulted in the death of 40-year-old Noel Bankhead and her three young children.

Based on the evidence ACSO investigators collected and other forensic tests, Ada County Coroner’s Office officials have determined the manner of the death for the three children to be homicide and Bankhead’s death a suicide.

The cause of death Bankhead and her three children, Anika, 13, Gwyneth, 8, and 11-year-old Logan Voermans, was drowning associated with blunt force trauma.

Investigators have determined Bankhead purposefully drove her Land Rover off a cliff on the side of East Spring Shores Road, just off of Idaho 21, and into Lucky Peak, just before 7:00 a.m.

The SUV went under about 40 feet of water before it hit the bottom.

The drop between the top of the cliff and the water at the time was estimated to be more than 50 feet.

Witnesses later told investigators that Noel was driving her Land Rover northbound on Idaho 21, slowed down, turned on to Spring Shores Road, positioned the car towards the cliff, and suddenly accelerated.

Investigators found no skid or brake marks where the SUV went over the edge.

They also did a thorough check of the Land Rover’s repair history and looked for recalls.

There was no evidence of any mechanical issues with the SUV.

Investigators spent over a year attempting to get data from the Land Rover’s water-damaged Event Data Recorder (EDR), which measures things like speed, braking, acceleration, and fault codes, like if a “check engine” light was on, but were not able to do so, despite sending it Land Rover’s European offices twice.

The results of toxicology tests from Noel’s autopsy showed no medication or alcohol in her system.