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UPDATE: Authorities Reveal Identity of Body Recovered on California Coast

A body washed up on the California coastline has been identified as one of the three missing Hart children.

Posted: Apr 17, 2018 11:48 AM
Updated: Apr 17, 2018 5:10 PM

UPDATE: A body recovered along the Northern California coastline on April 7 has been identified as 12-year-old Ciera Hart—one of the three missing Hart children, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO). Technicians performed an autopsy and MCSO are currently awaiting toxicology results.

The body was found in the area of Juan Creek and Highway 1 near Westport, California.

An examination of legal documents found the proper name and age of Ciera—who was previously reported as 15-year-old Sierra, according to MCSO.

The California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services Richmond DNA laboratory was called in to help with identification and testing of the body due to the body's condition. The lab announced the results of their analysis on Tuesday.

16-year-old Hannah and 15-year-old Devonte Hart are still missing at this time.

(Updated as of 11:40 a.m. on Tuesday, April17)



SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A woman was drunk when she drove her large family off a Northern California cliff last month and her wife and several children had large amounts of a drug in their systems that can cause drowsiness, authorities said Friday.

Police had previously said they believed the Hart family died in a suicide plunge from a scenic overlook. The crash happened just days after authorities in Washington state opened an investigation following allegations the children were being neglected.

Preliminary toxicology tests found Jennifer Hart had an alcohol level of 0.102, said California Patrol Capt. Bruce Carpenter. California drivers are considered drunk with a level of 0.08 or higher.

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. Toxicology results for a third child killed are still pending, Carpenter said.

Carpenter said none of the car's occupants were wearing seatbelts.

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 160 miles (250 kilometers) north of San Francisco.

Authorities have said that data from the vehicle's software suggested the crash was deliberate, though the California Highway Patrol has not concluded why the vehicle went off an ocean overlook on a rugged part of coastline. A specialized team of accident investigators is trying to figure that out with help from the FBI, Carpenter said.

"We believe that the Hart incident was in fact intentional," he said.

Carpenter said the family stopped in the small town of Naselle, Washington, near their Woodland, Washington, home, during their drive to the California cliff but that investigators are still trying to determine why they stopped there and whether they contacted anyone.

Five bodies were found March 26 near the small city of Mendocino, a few days after Washington state authorities began investigating the Harts for possible child neglect, but three of their children were not immediately recovered from the scene.

Two more are missing and another body has been found but not identified.

The 100-foot (31-meter) drop killed the women, both 39, and their children Markis Hart, 19; Jeremiah Hart, 14; and Abigail Hart, 14. Hannah Hart, 16; Devonte Hart, 15; and Sierra Hart, 12, have not been found.

Devonte drew national attention after he was photographed in tears while hugging a white police officer during a 2014 protest.

A neighbor of the Harts in Woodland, Washington, had filed a complaint, saying the children were apparently being deprived of food as punishment.

Long before the crash, Sarah Hart pleaded guilty in 2011 to a domestic assault charge in Minnesota over what she said was a spanking given to one of her children.

And authorities have said social services officials in Oregon contacted the West Linn Police Department about the family in 2013 while they were living in the area.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 224547

Reported Deaths: 2877
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah42425618
Washington28176259
Marion24842333
Clackamas20349243
Lane15401176
Jackson13240160
Deschutes1074187
Umatilla988394
Linn644882
Yamhill515882
Klamath498279
Douglas479594
Polk440457
Josephine438076
Malheur370967
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Union175924
Wasco160631
Lincoln159122
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Morrow125017
Clatsop123711
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Tillamook7985
Grant5657
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Harney46611
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Sherman872
Wheeler491
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 64620
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Los Angeles131165624721
Riverside3112424667
San Bernardino3095025265
San Diego3011003805
Orange2856205146
Santa Clara1245862183
Sacramento1178311790
Kern1143421428
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Alameda980131290
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Contra Costa78084836
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Stanislaus666191097
Tulare50731854
San Mateo45255588
Monterey44651528
San Francisco41758565
Solano36525261
Santa Barbara36106469
Sonoma33414331
Merced33321485
Imperial29333746
Placer25624307
Kings23790251
San Luis Obispo22356267
Madera17220249
Santa Cruz16779207
Yolo15149215
Marin15039243
Butte13523205
Shasta13179242
El Dorado11312121
Napa1055282
Sutter10343127
Yuba712950
San Benito632664
Tehama592766
Lassen590526
Nevada568575
Humboldt535154
Mendocino485652
Tuolumne469173
Lake440866
Amador395348
Siskiyou259640
Glenn248127
Colusa238118
Calaveras235658
Del Norte174710
Inyo148238
Mono13395
Plumas7926
Modoc5767
Mariposa5377
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