Authorities revealed that 35-year-old Ortilla Zamora, who was found dead along with her two children on December 30, in Lakeland, Florida, drove her car into Lake Wire on purpose.
Investigators did not find any signs of trauma on any of the victim’s bodies. Lakeland spokeswoman Robin Tillet said the results of the latest investigation indicated that she intentionally drowned herself and the children in the lake.
“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.”
Robin Tillett, Spokeswoman of Lakeland
Investogators learned from family members that Zamora had likely been suffering from mental health issues days before she died. She and her two children were from the Wauchula area. It is currently unknown why they were in Lakeland at that time.
According to the President and CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay Clara Reynolds, suicidal incidents caused by mental illness are fairly uncommon. Regardless, it is still tragic for the community, especially the affected family.
Investigation still underway
The Lakeland Police Department detailed in the report that Ortilla and her two children were found inside a car on the west side of Lake Wire near Sykes Boulevard around 5:30 a.m. It was submerged approximately 15 feet from the shoreline.
The authorities dispatched members of the Lakeland Fire Department and the dive team to recover the car from the lake. As they began removing the car from the water, the divers noticed the front window on the driver’s side was down, leading them to discover Zamora’s body inside.
After the officials successfully pulled the car from the lake, two children aged four and nine were found dead inside. The police identified the three victims to be a mother and sons.
Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office has been conducting an autopsy since January 3. The officical reports for cause of death have not been released.