Deadly wreck with family of 8 may have been intentional

03 April, 2018, 05:14 | Author: Bert Pena
  • A helicopter hovers over the Northern California site where the Hart family's SUV was discovered Monday afternoon

Three of their six adopted children, Markis, 19, Abigail and Jeremiah, both 14, were all found dead outside the SUV, according to a statement by the Mendocina Sheriff's Office.

The three other children Devonte, 15, Hannah, 16, and Sierra, 12 are presumed to have been in the vehicle, but have not been recovered.

Information from the car's software showed that the vehicle stopped at a dirt pull-off area, roughly 70 feet from the edge of the cliff, and then accelerated all the way off the cliff until it hit the bottom, Greg Baarts with the California Highway Patrol Northern Division, said in a telephone conference Sunday night.

That information combined with the fact that there were no skid marks at the scene has led authorities to believe the crash was intentional, Baarts told the AP.

California Highway Patrol Officials confirmed that the speedometer of the Hart family's SUV, which was found crushed at the bottom of a California roadside cliff on March 26th, was pinned at 90 miles per hour.

"Certainly, that does not mean the vehicle was going that fast", Robertson said.

He denied rumors that a suicide note had been found at the Harts' Washington house but said investigators were still evaluating some items found at the residence and said there had been some red flags raised.

West Linn police said they forwarded the report to the Oregon Department of Human Services.

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services said Child Protective Services opened an investigation into the Hart family on March 23 after the children were identified as potential victims of neglect and abuse.

"It is safe to report that a felony may have been committed in this case", Baarts said.

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The agency told BuzzFeed News in a statement it had unsuccessfully tried to contact the family on three separate occasions, including on the day of the crash. CPS said they had no prior history with the family and had not made any findings in the investigation.

Driver Jennifer Hart, 38, and Sarah Hart, 38, a married couple from Washington state, were killed.

In 2011, when the family lived in Minnesota, Sarah Hart pleaded guilty to domestic assault. She admitted that she had spanked her daughter on the backside after bending her over the edge of a bathtub.

Their three other adopted children were believed to be in the auto, according to deputies, but they have not been located. The couple adopted the six children, many of whom came from "hard backgrounds", he said.

"These kids faced unimaginable trauma", one of Jennifer Hart's friends wrote on Facebook after the crash. "It was not easy, and they had their lows", the friend wrote. Court documents show that one of the children, Abigail, told a teacher: "Mom hit me".

The child said she was punished because she had picked up a penny and put it in her pocket.

A neighbor Bruce Dekalb said, "I think that it's a little unusual that three of them left the vehicle and three of them didn't".

Lomax met the family in 2012 and said she is shocked by allegations of abuse.

But since Monday's discovery, searchers have fanned out across a roughly four-mile stretch of rugged coastline, combing the beach and scanning the water with binoculars, looking for the missing family members. Were they flawless? Absolutely not. "But the media and the neighbors who are being interviewed are presenting a very dark picture of a family that brought so much compassion and happiness to this world".

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