Florida woman, 35, drowns with her two children after intentionally driving car into lake

Florida woman, 35, drowns with her two children after intentionally driving car into lake
35-year-old Ortilla Zamora intentionally drove her vehicle into Lake Wire (ABC Tampa/ Screenshot)

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

LAKELAND, FLORIDA: In a tragic incident, authorities in Lakeland, Florida, believe that a woman intentionally killed her two children and herself in an apparent suicide, last week by driving her car into a lake with her children inside it. The car had submerged 15 feet when Lakeland Police and Fire Departments arrived on the scene following a 911 call, reports said.

Ortilla Zamora, 35, was found dead inside the car, which the fire brigade and dive team started to pull out of the water. The remains of Zamora's two boys, aged four and nine, were also discovered inside the car after it had been completely drained of water, the officials said.

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Preliminary information, as per investigators indicates that this was not a traffic crash, and there were no apparent signs of trauma on any of the people in the vehicle. "At this point in the investigation, all evidence suggests that the adult female, 35-year-old Ortilla Zamora, intentionally drove her vehicle into Lake Wire on the morning of December 30, 2022," Lakeland Spokeswoman Robin Tillett said in a press release.

During the investigation, detectives learned from family members that she had possibly been experiencing mental health issues days prior to the event. The mother and two boys are from the Wauchula area, and it is unknown why they were in Lakeland that morning, FOX news reported. On January 3, 2023, the Polk County Medical Examiner's Office performed an autopsy. As part of the continuing inquiry, more testing, including toxicological examinations, will take place. So far, this remains an open investigation and it's still to be known if the children were still alive when she drove into the Lake.

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Kim Seaboldt told ABC Action News she witnessed the incident as she was driving south on Sikes Boulevard to go to work. She said Zamora’s car, which was in front of her, made a U-turn at Lake Wire Drive and started heading north on Sikes but then made a “deliberate” right turn into the lake.

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