Fatal crash involves lesbian moms, several kids

Elias Hubbard
April 2, 2018

Their auto was spotted at the bottom of a cliff on Monday.

The children's adoptive parents, Jennifer and Sarah Hart, and their three other siblings died in the crash, police said.

"I could tell you it was a very confusing scene, because there are no skid marks", said Allman.

On Wednesday, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman told reporters that there was no evidence the fatal plunge was intentional, and said authorities believed that all six adopted children were in the auto.

Allman appealed to anyone who might have seen the family of eight to come forward.

They are now presumed dead.

The wreck was discovered by a passing motorist Monday afternoon.

His adoptive sisters 16-year-old Hannah Hart and 12-year-old Sierra Hart were also missing after the family's vehicle plummeted off a cliff near Mendocino on March 26.

Just the last week, CPS case workers had gone by the family's home three times to check on the children.

Devonte drew national attention after the black youngster was photographed in tears, hugging a white police officer during a 2014 protest in Portland, Ore., over the deadly police shooting of a black man in Ferguson, Miss. Devonte was holding a "Free Hugs" sign.

Police said it's not yet clear if they drove the vehicle over the cliff intentionally or by accident.

Investigators can calculate the SUV's speed based on where it landed and the height of the drop.

On Thursday, authorities in Washington state also searched the family's home for information. The Clark County Sheriff's Office said deputies were looking for bills, receipts or anything else to shed light on why the family left and other circumstances related to the trip, KGW-TV reported.

This week it was also revealed that Sarah Hart pleaded guilty to domestic assault charges in 2011.

Some family friends describe the Harts as tight-knit and loving, but neighbors said they saw signs that caused them to worry about how the homeschooled children were being cared for.

Bruce and Dana DeKalb said that the 15-year-old asked them to leave food out in a box and that his mothers were "punishing" him by not feeding him. The couple told the Press-Democrat that Hannah said she was running away because she was being abused, and wanted a ride to Seattle.

Police are still trying to determine the exact nature of the accident, including why the Harts were in California, hundreds of miles from their family home in Woodland, Washington. The agency had no prior history with the family, said Norah West, a spokesperson with the Washington Department of Social and Health Services. When Price asked her friend Jennifer Hart to help make a video for the song, she said the family was reluctant. The couple adopted the six children, many of whom came from "hard backgrounds", he said.

Another neighbor, Bill Groener described the Harts' children as "wonderful", but told CNN he "thought it was unusual that I didn't see the kids a lot".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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