SUV that fell in river belonged to missing family


Personal items and parts of a vehicle belonging to a missing Valencia family were found this week in a flooded Northern California river amid a continuing search for bodies, officials announced Thursday.

The body was found at the Dimmick Overcrossing on the Eel River where the family's SUV was swept away and submerged.

Authorities say Jennifer Hart was drunk behind the wheel when a vehicle carrying her family crashed at the bottom of a cliff on the California Coast in March.

All eight members of the Hart family died when their SUV plunged off a 30m cliff in California.

Sarah and Jennifer Hart and their six adopted children were believed to be in the family's SUV when it plunged off a cliff in Mendocino County, more than 250 kilometres north of San Francisco.

Jennifer and Sarah Hart and three of their children were killed in the vehicle crash. 15, Devonte Hart Hannah Hart, 16; and Sierra Hart, 1 2, have not yet been found.

"He said not to call the cops because they would be split up and he mentioned they go for long periods of time without food "and they are just hungry", a neighbor said Devonte Hart, 15, told him, according to the Washington records.

He noted that the Yukon had traveled some 75 feet along an unpaved roadside pullout before running off the cliff, leaving behind no skid or brake marks, indicating the vehicle may have been driven off the cliff intentionally.

The family appear to have left their home in Woodland, Washington on March 23.

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The family arrived in Fort Bragg, California, on the night of Saturday, March 24, and were there until Sunday night, the day before their SUV was found.

The toxicology report was released Friday in California as authorities in Washington state provided details about visits from child protective services to the family's home there.

The poster said their last known location was the "Klamath-Redwood National Park area".

Last August, soon after the Harts moved into their rural home, neighbors Bruce and Dana DeKalb said a child rang their doorbell, seeking sanctuary from abuse.

In 2013, a former friend of the Hart family told child welfare officials in OR in 2013 that Jennifer and Sarah Hart deprived the kids of food as punishment.

Sarah Hart pleaded guilty to charges of domestic assault in 2011, after police in Minnesota said she hit one of her daughters.

The items had turned up over the course of searches of the South Fork of the Eel River over the past two days, the statement said.

Among the last communication with the Harts may have been a text message mother Sarah Hart, 38, sent two days before the crash, telling a friend she was feeling sick and would not be at work, said a spokeswoman for Clark County Regional Emergency Services.