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Hagg Lake drowning mystery: 4 bodies found floating in lake from same family

4 bodies pulled from Hagg Lake in Oregon are from the same family. Authorities believe the family members drowned.
4 bodies pulled from Hagg Lake in Oregon are from the same family. Authorities believe the family members drowned.
Wikimedia Commons

Four bodies of family members were found in Hagg Lake over the weekend and authorities are trying to piece together this mystery. The body of a three-year old boy was found first and the next day three of his family members' bodies were pulled from the lake. All four members of this one family appeared to have drowned in Henry Hagg Lake, which is just west of Portland, Oregon, according to Oregon Live News on Aug. 27.

The bodies of a mother and two of her children were pulled from the lake after they were discovered in about eight feet of water and 40 feet offshore by divers. Their bodies were discovered close to the spot where the body of the little three-year-old boy was found floating the day before by people fishing. They pulled the little boy to shore and gave the toddler CPR. The firefighters continued CPR when they arrived and tried to revive him, but it was too late, reports MSN News.

The authorities searched the area for the boy’s family and could not find anyone. After the lake had closed for the night, a car was found left in the parking lot. A spot on the beach was left abandoned with towels, a cooler, shoes and a small dog on a leash. This prompted authorities to search the lake for the people who came in that car.

It wasn’t until the next day that the three other family members' bodies were found by the divers searching the lake. The deceased family members were identified as Jova Ixtacua-Castano, 40, her daughter Gabriela Garcia-Ixtacua, 25, and son Michael Garcia-Ixtacua, 13. The three-year-old boy was Gabriela Carcia-Ixtacua’s son, Jeremy Scholl, according to NBC Local News.

The police do no suspect foul play in these deaths as this lake has a history of drowning victims and near-drowning victims in past years. The water drops off quickly and you can find yourself from waist-deep water to water over-your-head in one step.

The lake does not have life guards because of its vast size, it takes up a two-mile area. It is patrolled on the weekends when the majority of visitors come out for some sun and water. This is a popular family spot with as many as 6,000 people coming to Lake Hagg in one day. The lake gets 800,000 visitors a year.

The authorities are still investigating this case so they have not released any information on what appears to be the drowning deaths of this family. The lake has that drop-off spot as an underwater creek runs along the bottom, which carved out the area that suddenly drops into deep water. The bodies were found near that area, suggesting they may have suddenly found themselves in water over their heads.

This is a scenario that happened two years ago with eight children who had walked into the lake and hit the area that drops off. They were in the water screaming for help when folks at the lake heard them and went into the water to save them.

All eight kids were saved from this near drowning in 2012 by the quick thinking of a family at the lake who were there enjoying a family reunion. Six people from the family reunion formed a human chain to pull them to shore to safety. The family over this weekend were not as lucky.

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