Gwyneth Voermans, 8, Logan Voermans, 11, and Anika Voermans, 13, were all passengers inside the Land Rover that went off a cliff Thursday morning and into Lucky Peak Reservoir. All three died from drowning associated with blunt force trauma, according to the Ada County Coroner’s Office.
Ada County sheriff’s deputies say they don’t know why their mother — Noel Voermans, 40 — drove the SUV off the cliff. She died from drowning, the coroner’s office says.
The manner of death for all four Boise residents is still under investigation, the coroner’s office notes.
The crash, which happened near the High Bridge before 7 a.m. Thursday took the lives of the woman and her three children, according to an Ada County Sheriff’s Office news release.
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Divers recovered the bodies of the three children in the morning but were unable to reach the mother’s body, which was trapped in the SUV under 40 feet of water.
Late Thursday, sheriff’s officials recovered the SUV by floating it to the surface with the help of divers. They then extracted Noel Voerman’s body after cutting through smashed metal, authorities said.
Boise School District is offering counseling for staff and families at East Junior High and Riverside Elementary schools, where the children attended. Counseling is available at the schools with no appointment through 3 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday. At East, both families and staff have taken advantage of talking with counselors, said Principal David Greene. At Riverside, mostly staff had spoken with counselors Friday morning, said Erin Kubena, principal.
Parents should acknowledge their children’s feelings of loss, Greene said. “Parents need to sit down in a very purposeful way.”
A lot of questions surround the accident, but parents should not feel the need to outline all of those. If children have questions, parents should try to answer them, Greene said. “They need to stick more to the feelings.”
Voermans and her former husband, both graduates of Cambridge High School, got married in 1995. They divorced two years ago.
He works for a state agency. A spokesman for that agency said the man did not want to comment publicly about the deaths of his children and his ex-wife.
Authorities said there were no skid marks or other signs of braking where the SUV went over the edge. It fell close to 80 feet into the water, according to a pair of Statesman measurements. Witnesses said the Land Rover accelerated before going off the cliff. The vehicle hit with enough force to crush its top half, deputies said.
Investigators said they will study the wreckage to determine whether the vehicle had any mechanical problems.
Deputies began their investigation Thursday morning after getting a 911 call. They discovered debris and an oil slick on the water. They said they were not sure what direction the vehicle was going on Idaho 21 before it turned onto East Spring Shores Road and then headed toward the water.
Officials from Boise County, Ada County, Boise police and the Boise Fire Department’s dive team responded to the crash near the Ada/Boise county line.