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Skeletal Remains Found Near Hart Family Crash Site Identified

DNA tests on a skeletal foot found on a California beach have finally been confirmed as belonging to Hannah Hart — one of the children previously unaccounted for at the crash site.

Posted: May 10, 2018 1:09 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 2:27 PM

MENDOCINO, Calif. —

UPDATE: An investigation into the likely deaths of an entire family on a California cliffside remains ongoing with evidence still trickling in, though the initial crash occurred back in March of 2018. Five members of the Hart family were confirmed dead in the crash — but three of the Hart children were not found at the scene.

On Wednesday, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) said that they had received word from the Department of Justice (DOJ) forensics lab that additional DNA test results showed a positive identification of the partial remains found on a beach in May of 2018 as belonging to Hannah Hart.

A break in the case came in October of 2018, when a woman who identified herself as the mother of Markis, Abigail, and Hannah Hart contacted MCSO and indicated she had heard of the incident through a family member, the agency said.

Hannah's biological mother helped in the investigation, providing a DNA sample to detectives with the Mobile Alabama Police Department which was then forwarded to the DOJ lab for comparison testing, leading to the ultimate identification of Hannah's remains.

The remains of 12-year-old Ciera Hart were identified in April.

Devonte Hart is still listed as a missing person with MCSO — the only member of the Hart family to remain unaccounted for. Devonte came to internet fame in 2014 when he was pictured in tears hugging a police officer at a rally in Portland following protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

Investigators still believe that Devonte died along with his family in the crash, though MCSO said that the case remains "open and active."

MCSO said that it is "poised to follow up any viable investigative lead," but has not received any indication of Devonte being located elsewhere.

(Updated 1/9/19 at 2:11 p.m.)


INITIAL REPORT: The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has released a new update on the investigation into the Hart Family crash. 

The Sheriff's Office says a local resident had found a pair of jean pants with a shoe entangled inside one of the pant legs. It was found on the beach near the mouth of Hardy Creek, which is about 1 mile north of the Hart family crash site.  This was reported on Wednesday at around 7:15 p.m. in the area of North Highway 1 and Hardy Creek in Westport, California. 

The Sheriff's Office says the jeans were a girl's size 10 regular and the shoe appeared to be a 3.5 US big kid size and/or 5.5 women's US size.

Upon inspection, it was determined skeletal remains of what appeared to be a human foot was inside of the shoe. The shoe with the skeletal remains were released to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Division. A forensic lab is working to identify the remains through DNA analysis. 

On Thursday, a group of Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue members searched the area where the skeletal remains were found. There will be another search of the area in the near future. 

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Division to date have received analysis reports on all of the Hart Family members who have been recovered and identified.

The toxicology analysis showed three of the children had a positive toxicology finding in their blood for Diphenhydramine (an active ingredient in Benadryl), while one child had no toxicology finding.

At this time the Coroner's Division is not releasing the names of the children associated with these toxicology findings.

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