Investigators concluded this week that an Idaho mom who drove her three kids off a 50-foot cliff in June 2016 did it purposefully, The Washington Post reported.
Noel Bankhead, 40, killed herself and her three children—ages 13, 11, and 8—during the crash in a triple homicide-suicide, a local coroner’s office ruled.
Bankhead drove her Land Rover on a state highway before suddenly veering off course and accelerating suddenly over the cliff, witnesses told officials. Their bodies were recovered from a reservoir after the roof of the vehicle was crushed, and a medical examiner ruled they died from a combination of blunt force trauma and drowning.
“The SUV went under about 40 feet of water before it hit the bottom,” the Ada County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “The drop between the top of the cliff and the water at the time was estimated to be more than 50 feet.”
Before concluding that the crash was an intentional homicide, investigators looked at other possibilities, including mechanical issues in the car, a sudden medical emergency, and intoxication.
All of them were ruled out, and investigators noted that they found no skid or brake marks as Bankhead’s car went over the cliff.
Bankhead did not leave a suicide note before the crash, which killed her two daughters, Anika and Gwyneth Voermans, and her son, Logan Voermans.
Bankhead had gone through a divorce about two years before the crash, but was otherwise, by all appearances, a doting mother, The Washington Post reported.
“Noel loved her children, Anika, Logan, and Gwyneth,” her obituary said. “And she loved her large family.”