On March 26, a tourist walking along the coast of Fort Bragg, California found a car, upside down and smashed wading in the tide of the beach below. Inside the car were the bodies of Jennifer and Sarah Hart, along with three of their six adopted kids. 100 feet below the road, the Hart's SUV had seemingly driven straight off the cliff, in what appears to be a case of murder-suicide. But that may not be the whole story.
Investigators immediately after identifying the Hart family realized something didn't add up. For instance, why was the Washington based family visiting California with only 3 of their 6 children, and where are the 3 missing kids?
Hart Family Car
There were no skid marks leading up to the cliff their SUV drove over at an expected 90 mph. And just hours before the crash Jennifer Hart was seen buying groceries from a supermarket in the Fort Bragg area.
Now what makes this case even stranger is that people remembered an old viral photo of a young black boy hugging a police officer in 2014 after Darren Wilson was not indicated for killing Mike Brown. At the time people saw the image as touching and a display of compassion in a time of great division, however, since the news of the Devonte Hart's family death the image takes on a new meaning.
In 2010, Sarah Hart pleaded guilty to domestic assault charges involving one of their children when bruises were found on the child's stomach and back, promoting the family to move from Minnesota to Woodland, WA for a more private life. In addition to physical abuse, the children were denied meals as a form of punishment in addition to being kept indoors most of the time.
A few weeks before the Hart families crash, neighbours said Devonte would come to their door asking for help which prompted them to call child protective services. And on March 26th and 27th, child protective services attempted to reach the family at their Washington home, but the family has already fled.
As of now, Devonte, 15, Hannah, 16, and Sierra, 12, are all still 'missing', but authorities don't seem very confident that the children are still alive.