Body found amid search for SoCal family after SUV swept into river

Lula Sharp
April 15, 2018

A vehicle owned by the couple-Sarah and Jennifer Hart, both 38 - was found at the bottom of a cliff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean in California's Mendocino County on March 26.

Toxicology tests also found that her wife Sarah Hart and two of their children had "a significant amount" of an ingredient commonly found in the allergy drug Benadryl, which can make people sleepy.

A witness told investigators they saw a maroon SUV, possibly a Honda Pilot, crash into the river north of Leggett around 1:10 p.m. April 6, the CHP said. A specialized team of accident investigators is trying to figure that out with help from the FBI, Carpenter said. Carpenter said "a lot about this case is unusual ... baffling nearly".

A family of four taking a West Coast road trip vanished about 30 miles from the site of the Hart family crash, authorities said this week. Naselle is near U.S. Highway 101, a popular, scenic route along the coast.

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The body was found on Friday on an exposed terrain which appeared to have covered by the Eel River within the last few days as a result of a recent weather storm which brought heavy rain to the area. The bodies of three of their children - Markis, 19, Jeremiah, 14, and Abigail, 14 - were found nearby. Their three other adopted children are missing, 16-year-old Hannah Hart, 12-year-old Sierra Hart and 15-year-old Devonte Hart, who is known for a viral photo in which he is hugging a police officer in November 2014.

The Harts moved to a home in Woodland, Washington, in mid-2017, neighbors said.

Sarah and Jennifer Hart, both 39, and their six adopted children were believed to be in the vehicle at the time.

And authorities have said social services officials in OR contacted the West Linn Police Department about the family in 2013 while they were living in the area. Sarah Hart reportedly also had diphenhydramine in her system. At a press conference on Friday, the Coroner originally said that the body was that of a child but later said that it was an adult female. But after spending two weeks with the family Argyropoulos said she noticed kindness, love and respect for the children was largely absent.

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