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Three more bodies found in Hagg Lake

Aug 26, 2014


By The Associated Press

GASTON — Divers recovered the bodies of a 40-year-old mother and her two children from Hagg Lake Tuesday, a day after finding the woman's 3-year-old grandson drowned in the same area — the lake's Sain Creek arm.

The family, who lived together in Hillsboro, went to the popular Washington County lake Monday for a picnic.

After retrieving the body of drowned toddler Jeremy Scholl on Monday night, authorities discovered the family car, dog and picnic site undisturbed but abandoned. That led them to fear the worst.

It is not clear what happened there, but sheriff's deputies said there were no signs of foul play.

“There is no suspicion of any criminal activity, said Sgt. Bob Ray of the Washington County Sheriff's Office. "We're just considering this a tragic accident,”

Deputies closed the lake Tuesday and mounted an all-out search in the murky water. It eventually turned up the bodies of Jova Ixtacua-Castano and her two children, 25-year-old Gabriela Garcia-Ixtacua, mother of the toddler, and 13-year-old Michael Garcia-Ixtacua.

The bodies were discovered about 40 feet off shore in eight feet of water. They were retrieved about 50 yards from the spot where the 3-year-old was pulled out.

Deputies respnded to the intial drowning found a beach towel, a cooler, shoes and other personal items, as well as a small dog on a leash. They also found the family car parked in the lot.
The lake is a busy recreation site, drawing 800,000 visitors a year. It draws 6,000 visitors a day on busy summer weekends.

There are no lifeguards because of the lake's size — nearly 2 square miles. But the sheriff's office maintains a marine patrol presence on weekends.

The toddler was not wearing a life jacket, authorities said, though a set of children's life jackets is maintained at the lake for public use.

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