Officials have investigated a case for more than a year and still can't come up with a reason a loving mother would deliberately drive her SUV over a cliff killing herself along with her three young children. Investigators thought perhaps something might have been wrong with the red Land Rover she was driving. However, no evidence pointed to that after the car was thoroughly inspected by the maker of the vehicle.

Then they thought perhaps Noel Bankhead had a medical emergency such as a stroke or seizure while driving to cause her to speed over a 50-foot cliff and end up in a river in Idaho.

That possibility was ruled out by medical examiners. Investigators are no closer to the truth today than they were when it first happened in June 2016.

Final conclusion

More than one investigator ruled out all of the possible reasons. This week, they collectively submitted their final conclusion. They said they had no other choice but to conclude that Bankhead purposely drove her SUV into the water knowing that she would die along with her three young children. Investigators and other officials are still questioning why the mother would do such a thing. No suicide note was ever found, and she was not suffering from any known mental problem at the time of the tragedy.


Investigators don't like to be left with loose ends, but in this case, they still don't know why this tragedy occurred.

Witnesses say Bankhead slowed down and turned the car toward the cliff and suddenly sped over it. There were no brake or skid marks to indicate she tried to stop.

After the car went over the 50-foot cliff, it sank 40-feet underwater. All four of the family members were still in the car when it was pulled from the river. The mother's 13-year-old daughter, Anika, and 8-year-old daughter, Gwyneth, were found along with their 11-year-old brother, Logan.

They all died from blunt force trauma and drowning.

Bankhead had gone through a divorce about two years before her death. However, there was no evidence that led investigators to think being divorced was a motive. She was described by those who knew her as a full-time working mother who loved her children very much. Her obituary showed that she was the oldest of eight siblings from a loving and supportive family. None of her family members could help investigators come up with a motive. Therefore, the reason for the deaths of four family members remains a complete mystery.