Six children feared dead after SUV plunged off California cliff; 2 women killed

Investigators made a grim announcement Wednesday in the hunt for relatives after an SUV plummeted off a cliff in Northern California: six children were feared dead, along with two women.

Crews earlier said three children had died and three were missing. The SUV plunged 100 feet from an ocean overlook on the Pacific Coast Highway about 150 miles north of San Francisco on Monday.

It’s unclear what caused the SUV to drop off the cliff.

Jennifer and Sarah Hart, both 39, were confirmed dead earlier Wednesday, along with their children Markis Hart, 19; Jeremiah Hart, 14; and Abigail Hart, 14.

Later, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allmon told reporters that investigators believed the couple’s three other children — Hannah Hart, 16; Devonte Hart, 15; and Sierra Hart, 12 — were inside the vehicle and also died. Only three of the children’s bodies were found in the area so far, Allmon said.

Devonte made news after he was photographed at a 2014 protest in Portland, Ore., following a grand jury’s decison not to indict a police officer in the shooting of a black man in Ferguson, Missouri.

Devonte, who is black, was holding a sign that read, “Free Hugs,” when a white officer asked him for one. The photo showed an emotional Devonte embracing the officer.

“We have every indication to believe that all six children were in [in the SUV],” Allmon said. “We know that an entire family vanished and perished during this tragedy.”

The sheriff said that nothing at this point indicates that the crash was intentional however investigators on the scene didn’t find any skid or brake marks in the road where the car went over.

Allmon pleaded for the public’s help in piecing together the family’s whereabouts in the days before the crash. He added that a witness called 911 about the incident but it wasn’t clear when the SUV actually plunged over the ledge.

Appearances at the home indicated that the Harts were on a short road trip, as they left behind several personal belongings as well as chickens and their pet, California investigators said.

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Eric Write head editor and chief at The Pluto Daily