[UPDATE Wednesday] For Liz and Her Two Girls: A Fundraiser for the Funeral Expenses of the Mother and Two Children Who Are Believed Dead After a Crash into the Klamath River

Elizabeth Palmer, Victoria and Lizzie

Elizabeth Palmer holds Victoria while Lizzie smiles proudly in this photo taken about a year ago. [All photos used with permission of the family]

On the evening of March 5, as snow and rain fell across the region, a car driven by Elizabeth Palmer, an artist caretaking the Klamath River Lodge with the father of her children, Jose Paredes Chavez, slid off a stretch of State Route 96 and into the water.

“She lost control of her car due to the horrible weather conditions and her car went down a 500 foot embankment,” wrote Carolyn Palmer, Elizabeth’s sister, on a GoFundMe page that is trying to raise money to pay for the funeral expenses of her nieces and her sister. “Her husband was sucked from the vehicle..He tried to save his family but as he was unbuckling Little Liz the car was swept away by the river.”

Unable to locate the vehicle, Mr. Chavez clawed his way up the steep slope. He flagged down a Caltrans worker and they called for help.

Victoria and Lizzie

Lizzie holds a doll and Victoria a green and brown object.

Though searchers tried to find the car that night, the rescue was hindered by a slide near the accident scene almost completely swallowing the road. In addition, snow combined with the cold and the dark added to the complications.

The high flows of the Klamath River had continued to hamper efforts. “No search and rescue team is willing to go,” Palmer said. “The road….has completely slid away. They shut down the 96.  They can’t get a boat through the area. The helicopter won’t come.”

Palmer said she is sure her sister and nieces are still in the vehicle and didn’t escape. “The kids were in their carseats,” she said. “My sister had her seatbelt on. [Rescue personnel] searched the bank to see if anyone got ejected [but found no one.]”

Elizabeth Palmer, Victoria and Lizzie

Elizabeth Palmer carrying baby Victoria and holding little Lizzie’s hand.

“There was no alcohol and no foul play,” Palmer said. “It was just a tragedy…Liz and her husband were artists…They were excellent parents. They loved their children. ”

She and her family wait for searchers to be able to check the river closely but falling rain means that the water is unlikely to drop soon. “They said they will keep us updated,” she said.

Meanwhile, she wants to give the girls and her sister, Liz, a funeral. “I googled and it will cost between 5,000 to 8,000 dollars per person,” she said in a small, shocked voice. “I didn’t know it would cost so much.”

Then, she said, the family wants to get a cemetery plot. “We want to have a place where we can go visit them,” she said softly.

If you can help, please go to the family’s GoFundMe Page for more information.

UPDATE Wednesday: The vehicle has been located. Click here for more: Diver and Orleans VFD Located Vehicle That Carried Mother and Daughters Into the Klamath River

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  • Laytonville Rock
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29 comments

  • This is just too sad. I was praying for a miracle, but now pray for Mr. Chavez, who has lost his whole family.

  • Beyond tragic…😥😥😥 I read all the post’s that night. Went to bed praying. I don’t even know what the take away lesson is here…god bless this sweet family.

    • To me the teaching is to cherish every moment by being as present as possible. To say with words and actions how much you care for your loved ones. Forget petty differences, dont leave angry. Be grateful for all you have. It can all change in a minute.

  • Thank you for sharing this.

    The cost to bury one’s loved one is so horrifically terrible for most families.

    May the surviving family be given all the care and support they need as their loved one’s remains are recovered.

    Truly heartbreaking.

    Thank you families for putting a face to the loved one’s you lost for those here in the community.

    May the recovery process go safely for all concerned.

    And thank you first responders for attempting to rescue the family.

  • Everyone hold your family close. Appreciate them more. I just can’t imagine what Mr Chavez is going through. My heart is broken.

  • Maybe God was on a mandatory 15 minute break with this one.

  • Shocking! That’s too sad.. Drive carefully everyone!

  • Tears and prayers for this beautiful family

  • Prayers and condolences to the family and friends may they all find strength…. Rest in paradise….

  • There are no words. All we can do as a community is help the family grieve and give them all we can to say goodbye. Love and prayers from those who have walked a similar path 💔

  • I dont have any money, but all I have is my condolences and prayers if they are welcome, for Mr. Chavez and his family. Even though I don’t know these people, we are all family out here in the mountains. Doesn’t matter what color skin you have, or what your last name is. The fate of this family matters. RIP Young ladies. Please find the car, please.



  • So sad.

  • Could be anything

    I am so sorry. What a beautiful family. Even though this is an awful, tragic, heartbreaking acccident I find just a little comfort in knowing mom is with her babies. I am praying for the husband and the pain he must be going through over the loss of his family. God bless you all.

  • Sleepy Alligator

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  • I cannot fathom what you are going through sir. My dad and I were on ,36 with heavy snow and my dad as a UPS driver of 26 years traveling to Phoenix this very day cannot even understand the pain you are going through. Please know we are with you. Don’t listen to the negativity coming at you. I hope they find your family. For your peace I hope they find them. I am so sorry for your grief and I am behind you.

  • My God. This is just SO SAD!!!! May Mr Chavez find peace, and be offered much support!!
    Suggest they open an account at the CCU in Garberville, for people who have the means, and big hearts, to donate to. I will.
    Please Kym. Can you offer a follow-up story in about a week to update us, and remind everyone of the need?
    The photos you posted make this very real. It brings it home to me/us!

  • Good Job, Community. We have donated about $12,500 as of 11:00 pm Tuesday to help the family. We need another $7,500 to reach the amount of $20,000 that is needed for the funeral expenses.

    Even small amounts can add up! Do the right thing for the family and our community and GIVE what you can so we can reach this goal!!! It is very important for all of us that can, to try and help.

  • Peaceinlifeanddeath

    I am so sorry. What a heart wrenching tragedy. I think God wanted to bring these beautiful angels back home to him.
    In the face of unspeakable loss like this people ask the question, why? I know it may be hard to understand, but I believe that those with the most challenging paths to walk are actually favored by God. God would not give a spiritual test of this magnitude if he didn’t love you.

    • Im not religous personally, but I find your comment very refreshing. So many seem to ask god that he alter his plan for us. How they can do this while not accepting that tragedy is often part of the plan is beyond me. And they ignore the fact that being near god’s side in heaven is a reward.

  • No words

  • Please Grandfather, clear the weather so we can bring them home! Calm the water, and rescind the rain. The family is hurting enough, give them closure and ease their pain, please.

  • Crushing news. For the whole community. Used to live between Weitchpec and Orleans. Everyone is crushed.

  • No matter how tragic events are at times it is never the end – God be with you

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