Update, August 17, 2020:
Estella Huerta, 67, Alejandro Hernandez-Huerta 31, and Alex Oliver Hernandez 4, all of Lawrence, Indiana, were in the car that sank in Monroe Lake Saturday night, according to Monroe County Coroner Joani Shields.
“The preliminary cause of death for all 3 people is Consistent with Drowning, Manner of death is still pending investigation. It is unclear as to why the family was at Monroe Lake and is being investigated,” said Shields.
Shields said the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers will provide an update at a later time.
Three people have died by drowning after a vehicle went into the water with them inside at Monroe Lake’s Paynetown boat ramp Saturday night, according to Monroe County Coroner Joani Shields.
All three have been recovered from the vehicle, according to Shields.
“I cannot confirm the ages or genders at this time pending identification and notification. All 3 will be sent for an autopsy. This is still a very early investigation,” said Shields.
The DNR sent the following press release to The Bloomingtonian:
“For immediate release: August 16, 2020
Three dead after vehicle drives into Lake Monroe
Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating the death of three individuals at Monroe Reservoir late last night.
At approximately 10:30 p.m., witnesses reported seeing a vehicle drive down the Paynetown State Recreation Area boat ramp and enter the water. The driver called out for help and attempted to exit the vehicle. The witnesses were not able to rescue the occupants before the vehicle became submerged.
Monroe County Dive Team responded and were able to locate and remove an adult male and female as well as a male child from the vehicle. The adults were declared deceased at the scene. The child was transported to IU Health Bloomington and was declared deceased upon arrival.
Conservation Officers are working with Monroe County Coroner’s Office to identify the deceased and notify the next of kin.
Additional agencies assisting at the scene include: Perry Clear Creek Fire, IU Health EMS, and Monroe Fire.”
The Monroe County Sheriff’s office told the Bloomingtonian one diver who assisted in getting the victims from the water was from the MCSO, and the other diver is a firefighter.
Scanner traffic indicated the car came to a rest 100 feet from the shore in 8 feet of water. Members of local law enforcement, including the Bloomington Police Department, blocked streets along Third as one of the drowning victims was rushed to a hospital in Bloomington.
If more information becomes available this story will be updated.
(Note: The lake is referred to officially as Monroe Lake, but locals often call it Lake Monroe. Both versions are correct.)