Ada County Sheriff’s Office investigators have closed their investigation of the June, 2016 SUV crash into Lucky Peak that resulted in the death of 40-year-old Noel Bankhead and her three 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 -– girls Anika and Gwyneth Voermans, ages 13 and 8, and 11-year-old boy Logan Voermans -— is listed as 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 Highway 21, and into Lucky Peak, just before 7 a.m. on June 2, 2016.
The SUV went under about forty 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 fifty feet, according to an Ada County Sheriff’s Office news release.
Witnesses later told investigators Noel Bankhead was driving her Land Rover northbound on Highway 21, slowed down, turned on to Spring Shores Road, positioned the car towards the cliff -- and then suddenly accelerated, the release stated.
Investigators found no skid or brake marks where the SUV went over the edge. They also checked the Land Rover’s repair history and checked 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 ACSO release said.
The results of toxicology tests from Noel Bankhead’s autopsy showed no medication or alcohol in her system.