Deadly Hart family crash may have been intentional, CHP says

Glen Mclaughlin
April 3, 2018

He told NBC News that California authorities were "tirelessly searching for the missing children along the coastline", while authorities in California and Washington were "conducting interviews and attempting to establish a timeline and routes of travel in an effort to rule out any other possibilities".

Greg Baarts, acting assistant chief for the northern division of the California Highway Patrol, cautioned that the speedometer could have been affected by the crash, and the speed of the auto hasn't been conclusively determined.

A spokesman says the data shows the vehicle was stopped at a flat pull-off area before it sped off the steep rocky face.

The crash killed Washington state married couple Jennifer and Sara Hart, as well as three of their adopted children; 19-year-old Markis Hart, 14-year-old Jeremiah Hart and 14-year-old Abigail Hart. Neighbors Bruce and Donna Dekalb told CBS News they called child protective services after Devonte Hart knocked on their door last month for food and told them that he was being "starved to death".

California authorities say preliminary evidence suggests a auto crash that claimed the lives of a Washington state family may have been intentional.

"To the best of my knowledge, there was not a suicide note found at the residence", Captain Baarts said. CPS confirmed that they had opened an investigation, which identified the six adopted siblings as "potential victims of alleged abuse and neglect".

The Hart family gained national attention when a photo of 15-year-old Devonte Hart went viral.

In talking with police, Sarah Hart said the kids always got food but admitted spanking her daughter the day before and that it got out of control.

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

The court documents revealed a teacher noticed bruises on the child's back and stomach after the child said her mom had hit her. "We have reason to believe. the crash was intentional". He said his parents would withhold food as punishment.

Authorities said they believe there is intent because of air bag evidence and because there was no tire friction by the cliff's edge.

Asked if he knew Sarah had been convicted of domestic assault in Minnesota, the "close friend of the Hart family from Minnesota" said he just learned about it from media reports, but that everybody makes mistakes. Authorities said the family left OR to escape intense scrutiny that began in 2014, when Devonte Hart was photographed sobbing in the arms of a white police officer in Portland, where people had gathered to support protests in Ferguson, Mo.

Police searched the Hart home in Woodland, Washington, on Thursday. 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.

Friends of the Harts had a different view of the couple, describing them to CNN affiliate KOIN as loving parents who gave the kids everything they had and radiated positivity.

Allman said there was "every indication" all six of the couple's children were in the vehicle.

"They were really radiant, warm, adventurous, inspiring people".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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