Youngest missing Hart child found dead after car plunge tragedy
Following a three-week search for three children whose lesbian parents and three siblings plunged to their death, police have confirmed that the body of the youngest member of the family has been found.
Jennifer Hart, her wife Sarah and three of the family’s children, Markis, 19, Jeremiah, 14, and Abigail, 14, plunged to their deaths when their family’s car crashed 100 feet into the ocean near a Northern California cliff.
Authorities have been searching for the whereabouts of missing children Devonte, Hannah and Sierra since the tragic accident in March.
Police confirmed that they found the body of 12-year-old Sierra Hart in the ocean where the car plummeted, reports The Washington Post.
Police now fear that the two children that remain missing, Hannah, 16, and Devonte, 15, could also be dead after the discovery of Sierra’s body.
Sarah Hart and two of the children had a “significant amount” of an ingredient often found in the allergy drug Benadryl in their systems, authorities said, leading them to believe the crash was intentional.
Preliminary toxicology results last week found that Jennifer Hart was drunk, with a blood alcohol level of 0.102.
Drivers are considered legally drunk if they have a level of 0.08 or higher in the state of California.
The children were also said to have a significant amount of the allergy drug Benadryl in their systems, toxicology tests showed.
The police said none of the passengers were wearing seatbelts when the car went over the cliff.
“I’m to the point where I’m no longer calling this an accident, I’m calling it a crime,” Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman told HLN.
Deliberations over whether the crash was accidental and the potential motives of the couple have varied dramatically.
At one point, it was believed that the family were trying to escape their home after the Ku Klux Klan lit a burning cross in the family’s front yard.
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However, allegations of abuse have also come to light.
The Oregonian reported that the family had nearly 10 years of contacts with child welfare workers and police.
Sarah Hart had previously been convicted of a domestic abuse charge against her daughter Abigail, and neighbours reported that they had seen Sarah “violently” grabbing youngest child Sierra.
“They seemed completely incapable of dealing with normal childlike behaviour,” said a former friend of the couple Alexandra Argyropoulos.
The investigation to find the other missing children continues.