Authorities believe Northern California family lost all six children after their car nosedived off a coastal cliff. Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allmon spoke to reporters Wednesday saying only three bodies of the children were recovered. The parents also died Monday due the accident.
Allmon shared that specialized crash investigators are on the scene looking for clued. They did not find any skid or brake marks, but the sheriff saw no evidence to see the crash as a premeditated occurrence.
He asked for the public’s help in trying to retrace the family’s whereabouts leading up to the crash.
The sheriff claimed a bystander called 911 about the crash, but investigators haven’t figured out when the SUV hit the ocean. He says “an entire family vanished and perished during this tragedy.”
According to CBS affiliate KOIN-TV, the children who are missing are 15-year-old Devonte, 16-year-old Hannah and 12-year-old Sierra Hart. Nineteen-year-old Markis, 14-year-old Jeremiah and 14-year-old Abigal Hart were proclaimed dead Wednesday.
The couple, Sarah and Jennifer Hart, each 38, have a total of 6 adopted children and recently moved to Woodland, Washington. Jennifer was the driver at the time of the crash.
California authorities said the family looked to be on a short road trip because their belongings remained in the home along with chickens and a pet.
In a report about the crash, the highway patrol claimed a 2003 GMC was driving south along Highway 1 Monday when it went into a dirt turnout along the road and for unknown reasons drove directly off the cliff. The vehicle landed on its roof on a large rock, killing all five.
A woman who lives near the scene told KOIN-TV the crash seemed strange because the turnoff is so large. So far it’s unknown what led to the crash.
The weather was shown as clear and drugs and alcohol were not involved in the crash.
Authorities say child welfare officials in Washington state had recently gone to the family’s home. Clark County sheriff’s Sgt. Brent Waddell told the Associated Press that the family lived in Woodland, Washington, and recently held a visit from Child Protective Services.
He says the sheriff’s office later went into the house and found no obvious signs of trouble or violence.
[via CBS News]