Cliff crash: Child abuse concerns were raised; son was in famous

Woodland Wash. at a Bernie Sanders rally in Vancouver Wash

Sheriff Tom Allmon of Mendocino County in California, where the crash occurred, said: "We have every indication to believe that all six children were in there". He says "an entire family vanished and perished during this tragedy".

California Highway Patrol identified the two women as married couple Jennifer Jean Hart and Sarah Margaret Hart, both 39.

California Highway Patrol crash investigators were trying to determine what caused the vehicle to veer off the road in good weather, Allman said, and coroner's investigators were conducting autopsies on the remains that had been recovered.

A specialized team of accident investigators was trying to figure that out.

Allmon added "there were no skid marks, there were no brake marks" where the vehicle went over the cliff in a 100-foot drop. Investigators have no reason to believe the crash was intentional, he said. They were still searching for Hannah Hart, 16, Devonte Hart, 15, and Sierra Hart, 12, but believed them dead as well.

The family's former neighbor in West Linn, Bill Groener, told the AP that the siblings were foster children who were home-schooled.

The Mendocino Sheriff's Office reached out to authorities in OR regarding the case, officials said.

Investigators said that the appearances at the family's home suggested the Harts were on a short road trip, as they left behind several personal belongings including their chickens and a pet.

Next-door neighbours Bruce and Dana DeKalb said they called child services on Friday because they were concerned that Devonte, who hugged the officer at the protest, was going hungry.

Neighbours of the Harts have told United States media that they suspected the children may have been abused with child protective services visiting the family home last Friday, but getting no answer.


An ocean search effort is underway for three more children who may have been in an SUV that went over a cliff Monday on the California coast.

"The next morning, when we saw that the vehicle was gone, and then Sunday morning, when it still wasn't there..." said Bruce DeKalb. "They loved their kids more than anything else". "It haunted my wife since that day".

Online court records showed that Sarah Hart pleaded guilty to a domestic assault charge in Minnesota in 2011.

He said the family didn't eat sugar, raised their own vegetables, had animals and went on camping trips.

"There was enough positive there to kind of counteract the feeling that something maybe wasn't quite right", Groener told the AP.

Devonte Hart gained fame when this picture of him hugging officer Johnny Nguyen at a Portland rally went viral.

In 2014, Devonte was photographed at a demonstration in Portland, Ore., one of many protests across the country of a grand jury's decision not to bring criminal charges against Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

At the time, Jennifer wrote on social media: "My son has a heart of gold, compassion beyond anything I've ever experienced, yet struggles with living fearlessly when it comes to the police".

The Hart Tribe also went to events such as rallies for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, often showing up in matching T-shirts.

Portland photographer Zippy Lomax, a friend of the family, told The Oregonian that the couple "were the kinds of parents this world desperately needs" but they became overwhelmed by negative attention from those who expressed hate for their lesbian marriage and multiracial family.

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