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Published On: Sun, Oct 29th, 2017

2016 murder suicide detailed: Mother, Noel Bankhead deliberately drove off cliff with three kids inside

Idaho authorities confirmed that a woman deliberately drove her sport utility vehicle off a cliff, killing herself and her three young children in June of 2016.

Noel Bankhead, 40, drover a  Land Rover over a 50-foot (15-meter) cliff with her children ages 8, 11 and 13 inside and Ada County Sheriff’s Office investigators have finally closed their investigation.

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 official cause of death for Bankhead and her three children, girls Anika and Gwyneth Voermans, ages 13 and 8, and 11-year-old boy Logan Voermans, is now listed as drowning associated with blunt force trauma.

Anika, Gwyneth and Logan Voermans

Police reported that the witnesses told investigators that Bankhead 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 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 Bankhead’s autopsy showed no medication or alcohol in her system.

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

She went through a divorce about two years before the crash, but she didn’t leave a suicide note and police say her mental state at the time of the accident remains a mystery.

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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