June 22, 2018

SUV carrying family accelerated off California cliff, CHP says

03 April 2018, 03:46 | Simon Arnold

The site of the crash

The site of the crash

One person in their neighborhood told KWG8 that Devonte said his mothers didn't feed them and withheld food as punishment.

"Pure acceleration all the way", he said.

"We can't get divers into that area".

The speedometer of an SUV that plunged about 100 feet off a California cliff with a same-sex couple and their adopted children on board was reportedly "pinned" at 90 miles per hour.

The family gained some level of fame when a photo taken during a 2014 Portland protest of Devonte Hart hugging a police officer with tears streaming down his face went viral.

The Harts' neighbor, Bruce DeKalb, said the family moved in about 10 months ago and was "very private". Emergency responders found the bodies of three of their six children - Markis, 19, and Jeremiah and Abigail, both 14 - outside the vehicle, which landed upside down on the rocky shoreline below the cliff.

A Mendocino County Sheriff's Office spokesman told reporters at least one felony was committed, but declined to offer specifics.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said the family may not have meant to stay away from home for long that day because many of their belongings, including a pet and some chickens, were still at their home. But during Sunday night's teleconference with media, CHP said there was no note left behind and no obvious indicator in the Hart's home to explain what happened.

"The search for the additional three children belonging to the family continues both at the scene, through water rescue and recovery, and other locations including routes of travel", the California Highway Patrol said in a statement.

No details have been released about the results of the search at the couple's home.

The investigation continues, and a full inspection of the SUV is in process, said Acting Assistant CHP Chief Greg Baarts to reporters. Currently, they are attempting to determine a time line, path of travel and whether the family made any stops. "They were always on some grand adventure, and the kids were living this life that was kind of like this dream".

Family friends disputed that the parents were abusive.

The Hart home in Woodland, Wash.

A auto which careered off a cliff in California killing a family of eight may have been driven off the highway intentionally, according to police.

The wreckage was spotted on March 26 by a passing motorist.

"There are a lot of unknowns on this", Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said. "There was no indication of why this vehicle traversed approximately over 75 feet of a dirt pullout and went into the Pacific Ocean".

After the Friday visit, Child Protective Services tried to visit the family twice more, on Monday and Tuesday, to no avail, according to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

Authorities are still searching for the remaining three siblings - 16-year-old Hannah, 15-year-old Devonte and 12-year-old Sierra - but have said they believe they may have also been in the auto at the time of the crash.

CPS confirmed that they had opened an investigation, which identified the six adopted siblings as "potential victims of alleged abuse and neglect".

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