Parents of Adopted Kids That Drove Off Cliff Wanted for Abuse
A family that plunged to its death over a cliff in Northern California may have been much more than meets the eye.
Jennifer and Sarah Hart and three of their six adopted children were discovered Monday morning in a wrecked car at the bottom of a hundred foot cliff off the Pacific Coast Highway. Three of their children are still missing, and investigators aren’t sure if they were in the car or are still out there somewhere.
One of those missing children is Devonte Hart, who at the age of 12 went viral for a 2014 photo of him embracing a police officer at a Portland, Oregon protest of the decision to not charge the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
In 2017, the family moved from Oregon to Woodland, Washington. The Hart family’s next-door neighbors in Washington have shed some light on why they might have left in the first place. Watch —
Apparently, Devonte had started going over to Dana DeKalb’s house multiple times a day asking for food. Despite hearing an explanation from the parents, eventually, DeKalb decided she had to call Child Protective Services. CPS tried visiting the home the next day — there was no answer, and the next day, the family left.
Their former next-door neighbor in West Linn, Oregon, said the family grew their own vegetables and kept animals. Though the neighbor said he never was concerned about the children’s well-being, he told reporters: “Something just didn’t seem right. They were very isolated in the home.” And it wasn’t the first time CPS was brought in to check on the kids.
Back in 2010, when the family lived in Minnesota, 6-year-old Abigail Hart told a teacher she had “owies” from when “Mom hit me.” Sarah Hart told a social worker she had leaned Abigail over the tub and spanked her for misbehaving. She pled guilty to misdemeanor domestic assault and served a year of probation without incident.
So, this family moved around a lot, and multiple teachers and neighbors had concerns about the welfare of these kids — which brings us back to the crash. Though investigators aren’t ruling anything out, some details of the wreck indicate that it may not have been an accident. To drive off the embankment, the vehicle would have had to drive at least 75 feet off the highway. And tracks at the cliff edge show no signs that they tried to brake before going over.
The Mendocino County Sheriff said: “I can tell you it was a very confusing scene because there were no skid marks, there were no brake marks, there was no indication of why this vehicle traversed approximately over 75 feet of a dirt pull-out and went into the Pacific Ocean.”
Despite appearances, friends of the Harts say they were wonderful parents and that the crash could not have been intentional.
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