Published: Tue, April 03, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

California crash that killed Hart family may have been intentional, authorities say

California crash that killed Hart family may have been intentional, authorities say

A week after a mysterious auto crash killed at least six members of a Washington family, police say they have "reason to believe" the plunge off a California cliff was "intentional".

Authorities also said during the press conference that Hart's family SUV's onboard computer shows that the vehicle had stopped at the pullout but then accelerated over the cliff, a distance of about 70 feet, reported the news station.

Baarts said that information, along with the lack of skid marks where the vehicle - containing moms Jennifer and Sarah Hart and at least three of their six kids - went over, leads authorities to believe the act was intentional, KPTV reported. Baarts, who was not immediately available for comment Sunday evening, told KGW8 that the finding was based on preliminary information.

Five members of the Hart family were found dead.

California officials said last week that they believe all six adopted children of Sarah and Jennifer Hart were inside the SUV, though they said there is a possibility the missing children are staying with friends in the Portland area.

Authorities said they believe there is intent because of air bag evidence and because there was no tire friction by the cliff's edge.

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A spokeswoman said the department attempted to make contact with the family on March 23, but their was noone at their home in Woodland, Washington, about 27 miles (43 kms) north of Portland.

Allmon told reporters Hannah Hart, 16 and Devonte and Sierra Hart, 12 were inside the vehicle when it fell 100 feet off an ocean overlook and landed at the bottom of the cliff near the Pacific Ocean.

"At this point in our investigation, that is the direction we are going", Baarts said. He said the office was working with California authorities to find the missing children.

No suicide note was found at the scene of the crash, according to CHP.

Baarts stressed that investigators were still verifying the information, but that authorities believed that a felony had been committed in the crash.

The missing children may have been washed out to sea.

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Devonte, holding a "Free Hugs" sign, stood crying. The agency had no prior history with the family, said Norah West, a spokesperson with the Washington Department of Social and Health Services.

Dekalb and his wife called child protective services and reported 15 year old Devonte Hart, seen in that famous protest photo hugging a police officer, had asked the DeKalb's to hide food for him and the other kids.

"The best news that we can say is that three of these victims were left with friends and they were not even in the auto at the time it went over the bay".

According to Dana DeKalb, Devonte told her his parents were "punishing them by withholding food".

Investigators last week obtained a search warrant for the family's home in Woodland and looked for itineraries, bank and phone records, credit card receipts, journals or other documents that might shed light on the case. She told The Oregonian newspaper that Devonte asked for things like tortillas and peanut butter and eventually was coming over three times a day.

Family friend Max Ribner said Monday he was not ready to believe the crash was intentional.

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The Harts six children were all adopted from southeast Texas.

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