SUV plunges off cliff, 8 feared dead

SUV plunges off cliff, 8 feared dead

SUV plunges off cliff, 8 feared dead

Devonte held a sign reading "free hugs", of which one officer at the rally partook.

Recently Washington state child protective services sought to question the mothers because of reports from neighbors who say Devonte often visited them begging for food.

Authorities believe that the family's three other adopted children, Devonte, 15, Hannah, 16, and Sierra, 12, were also in the SUV, which crashed off the coast of Northern California near Mendocino, about 150 miles north of San Francisco.

"We have every indication to believe that all six children were in there", Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said, appealing for tips to retrace where the siblings and two parents had been before the vehicle was found Monday in rocky ocean. "We have no reason to believe, no evidence and no reason to believe, that this was an intentional act", he said via The New York Times. The SUV traveled across 75 feet of dirt between the road and the cliff, and there were no signs of skid marks.

The case has thrown a spotlight on at least one previous run-in with the law by the Harts, along with neighbors' repeated concerns about the way the home-schooled youngsters were being treated.

Their son Devonte Hart became famous after he was photographed hugging a police officer during a protest against a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who shot a black man in Ferguson Missouri. The boy was holding a "Free Hugs" sign.

In this November 25, 2014, file photo provided by Johnny Nguyen, Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum, left, and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo.

The victims plummeted 100 feet to their deaths after the family's 2003 GMC veered from an ocean overlook off the highway, authorities said in a news release.

"This is a tragic accident of a magnitude that can not be measured", Lomax told the Associated Press. Zippy Lomax told Oregon Live she'd normally see the family at spiritual and ethereal events and everything seemed normal. "They shattered a lot of norms and they did not shy away from controversy or adversity".

Next-door neighbors Bruce and Dana DeKalb said they called child services Friday because they were concerned that Devonte Hart, who hugged the officer at the protest, was going hungry. He came over nearly every day for a week, and asked her to leave food in a box by the fence for him, she said.

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"We have not made any findings in this investigation and we had no prior history with this family".

The family moved to Woodland, Washington near Portland partly to escape the public eye according to the AP.

He says Sarah worked at the Herberger's store in Alexandria, while Jen stayed home and homeschooled some of the children.

"The next morning, when we saw that the vehicle was gone, and then Sunday morning, when it still wasn't there..." said Bruce DeKalb. "They said the kids came from somewhere they'd been abused and they had adopted them". Her plea led to the dismissal of a charge of malicious punishment of a child, according to court records. Sarah Hart told authorities "she let her anger get out of control" while spanking her daughter.

Family friend Max Ribner took issue with the notion it was something other than a tragic accident.

"They are lovely examples of opening arms to strangers, helping youth, supporting racial equality", Ribner, who lives in Portland, told the AP. Most of us knew them (really) well.

Parents Jennifer and Sarah Hart, both 38, were both found dead inside the S.U.V., rocked by waves washing in and out, say police.

Crews are now searching for Devonte, along with his siblings, 16-year-old Hannah Hart and 12-year-old Sierra Hart, after their family's auto plummeted off a cliff near Mendocino. DeKalb said the Harts were home but didn't answer the door.

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