A body that was pulled out of the surf on Saturday near the site where a family of 8 went over a cliff in a SUV may be one of three missing children.
The body of a black female was discovered by a couple on vacation near Juan’s Creek before 2 p.m. Saturday in the vicinity of the crash site near Westwood, California. A third bystander pulled the body out of the water and called 911.
The body was discovered north of the crash site, but the ocean currents flow south. Investigators say it is not unusual for “items” to wash ashore after a big storm. A storm blew through the northern California Coast on Friday, KGW.com reports.
Police are investigating whether the body is that of Sierra Hart, 12, or Hannah Hart, 16. The girls and their brother, Devonte Hart, 15, went missing after lesbian couple, Jennifer and Sarah Hart, both 38, drove their SUV off a cliff in Mendocino, Calif. in an apparent murder-suicide.
A passing motorist spotted the wreckage at the bottom of a cliff on the Mendocino coastline just off Highway 1 on Monday, March 26.
5 bodies were recovered at the crash site — the two women and three of their adopted children: Markis Hart, 19, Jeremiah Hart and Abigail Hart, both 14. The bodies of the three children were found “near the vehicle” according to the California Highway Patrol.
Police believe the six adopted children (pictured above with Jennifer) were in the SUV when it crashed into the rocks. But there are also reports that the children were not inside the vehicle when it crashed.
A rumor is circulating online that forensics experts who examined the evidence say the six children were probably outside the vehicle when it went over the cliff.
Rumor has it that the children were pushed or thrown into the ocean before the women drove the SUV off the cliff.
The two women fled their Woodland, Washington home on Friday, March 23, after a neighbor called Child Protective Services to report a possible case of child neglect.
According to the women’s real estate agent, Joe Carbajal, the Harts moved from their Oregon home after receiving death threats when a viral photo of then 12-year-old Devonte Hart circulated on social media.
The photo showed a tearful Devonte hugging a cop during demonstrations in Oregon for Michael Brown, who was slain by a Ferguson, Mo. cop in 2014.
The women said they rarely left home for fear Devonte would be recognized. They also said they took him out of school in 2014 to homeschool him. But records show they removed all six children from school in 2011, the day after Sarah Hart pled guilty to abusing then 6-year-old Sierra.
A former friend previously witnessed Sarah abusing Sierra for not sharing her food with siblings. The woman said she had given Devonte and Sierra food at a festival. When Sarah saw the food, the woman said Sarah violently grabbed Sierra, severely bruising her arm.
“They seemed completely incapable of dealing with normal childlike behavior,” said the woman in an email exchange with The Oregonian/Oregon Live.
Sierra, Devonte and Jeremiah are biological siblings who were adopted from Texas in 2009. Biological siblings Abigail, Markis and Hannah were adopted from Texas in 2011. The couple never visited Texas, according to a family friend.
Jennifer and Sarah were residents of Minnesota when all six of the children were adopted from out of state.
Investigators are looking into whether the Harts received special treatment because they were members of the LGBT community.
Several months after the Hart family settled into their Woodland home in May 2017, neighbors Bruce and Dana DeKalb say Hannah Hart came knocking on their door in the middle of the night. She said her mothers were abusing her and she wanted protection, according to Bruce DeKalb.
The DeKalbs assumed Hannah was 7. They noticed she was missing her 2 front teeth. Jennifer and Sarah arrived soon after to fetch Hannah. They apologized and said Hannah was having a hard time adjusting. They also said Hannah was 12. In fact, she was 16.
The week before the family fled their home, Devonte made multiple trips next door to get food for himself and his siblings. He said the two women were starving them as a form of punishment.
Dana DeKalb’s father called 911, but he was told by the local sheriff that noting could be done. So the DeKalbs reported the Harts to child welfare officials.
Someone from Child Protective Services visited the Hart home on Friday, March 23. The worker arrived just minutes after Jennifer got home from her job as a cashier at Kohl’s. No one answered the door so the worker left.
Moments later, Jennifer and Sarah hurried the children into a 2003 GMC Yukon and took off. They left behind their pets and personal belongings. It was the third time the couple fled a state after a visit from child welfare workers.
On Sunday, March 25, Jennifer Hart was spotted on surveillance video buying bananas, candy and other groceries at a Safeway grocery store in Fort Bragg, near Mendocino.
The next day, the wrecked SUV was found.
There is speculation that the two women laced the food with sedatives to make the children sleepy before pushing or tossing them into the ocean somewhere between Fort Bragg and Mendocino, where they re-enacted the famous final scene from the movie ‘Thelma & Louise’.