Jennifer Hart, who died along with her family in a suspected murder-suicide, was spotted in grainy surveillance video in a Safeway grocery store in Fort Bragg, California on March 25.
Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies released an image from surveillance video showing Jennifer Hart, 39, in the grocery store just after 8 a.m. on Sunday, the day before the family’s wrecked SUV was found at the bottom of a cliff near Mendocino, California.
Authorities believe Hart and her lesbian partner, Sarah Hart, 38, intentionally drove their 2003 GMC Yukon off a cliff days after a child welfare worker visited their Woodland, Washington home to investigate a report that they were starving their 6 adopted children.
The bodies of the couple and three of the children were recovered at the crash site. Still missing are Devonte Hart, 15, Hannah Hart, 16, and Sierra Hart, 12.
All 3 missing children were subjects of prior child abuse investigations. Hannah, Sierra and Devonte are circled in the photo below.
Child welfare workers investigated the Harts for multiple reports of child abuse and neglect in three states — Minnesota, Washington and Oregon.
The Harts packed up and moved with their children each time CPS workers visited their home over the years.
The FBI is following up on a tip that the three missing children may be staying with a friend in the Portland, Oregon area. A family friend gave authorities the name of an individual in the Portland area.
Lt. Shannon Barney, of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, told the New York Daily News on Tuesday that they are open to the possibility that the missing children were not in the SUV when it crashed.
“Right now, we have to leave open the possibility they could be in Washington or Oregon or elsewhere in California,” Barney told the paper. “There is always that possibility and we have to leave it open.”
Authorities expanded their search along the 550-mile route the Harts took from the family home in Woodland.
FBI agents are reviewing surveillance videos from Highway 101 to State Route 1 to determine if all of the children were traveling with the Harts.
According to reports, the family reached Fort Bragg, Calif. around 8 p.m. Saturday, March 24. They stayed overnight in the Fort Bragg and Cleone areas until about 9 p.m. Sunday, March 25.
The California Highway Patrol say they haven’t given up searching for the children’s remains in the water.
On Wednesday, more than 70 people will begin a large-scale search during low tide in a coastal area south of the crash site, KVAL reports.
Public outrage is growing over the national news media’s sympathetic coverage of the lesbian couple who beat and starved their minority children for years before killing them.
The murder-suicide briefly drew attention because Devonte Hart is the tearful boy hugging a cop in a viral photo taken at a rally in Oregon in 2015.
The news media is accused of burying the Devonte Hart story, while providing extensive news coverage of petty criminal Stephon Clark, the 22-year-old man who was shot and killed by police after reportedly breaking into cars in Sacramento.
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) November 29, 2014