Brake failure, a blown tire? Search for clues in SUV wreck

Lynette PayneMar 31, 2018

On the northern California coast, police are searching for answers after an SUV went off a cliff.

Though authorities don't know when the SUV went off the cliff, Allman has pleaded for information about the family's whereabouts in the hours leading up to the crash.

Norah West, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services told The Oregonian that the agency tried several times to contact the family to follow up on reports - each attempt unsuccessful.

Devonte Hart, 15, was photographed crying as he embraced a riot police officer during demonstrations over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. Three of their six adopted children, Markis, 19, Abigail, 14, and Jeremiah, 14, were thrown out of the SUV.

Their final journey ended not in hugs all around but in tragedy. However, Allman said there is no reason to believe the act was intentional.

The Harts' friends have defended the family.

The Associated Press reports that friends described Jennifer and Sarah Hart, who adopted all six of their children, as "loving, inspiring parents who promoted social justice and exposed their "remarkable children" to art, music and nature".

"Many of us remember him during Portland protests, when this picture went viral", said Sheriff Allman, pointing to a much- circulated photo of Devonte hugging a Portland Police officer, with tears streaming down Devonte's cheeks.

Devonte had earlier been carrying a "free hugs" sign, and the pair's interaction became the focus of a viral photo.

The 16-year-old was found dead outside a residence in the 100 block of Avenue I North around noon on April 1, 2015.

The family travelled to many festivals throughout the area - including events for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders - and were known for wearing matching T-shirts.

The Hart family lived just outside Portland and loved to hike and camp.

"The tragic news about Devonte and his family deeply saddens me", Sgt. Bret Barnum of the Portland, Ore., police told Inside Edition. "People were sending them death threats".

"We figured that they saw the business card and loaded up the kids as quick as they could and took off". They also stopped them from going outside when being punished, he told her. "They shattered a lot of norms and they did not shy away from controversy or adversity".

"He was a very young, vulnerable kid willing to do anything and they used him", his brother Jonathan said in the public video.

After days of this, and other accusations of abuse, Dana DeKalb, called child services.

The girl, Hannah Hart, "was at our door in a blanket saying we needed to protect her", Bruce DeKalb said.

The family of the woman killed in Tuesday's stabbing turned police shooting is speaking out thanking neighbors, community members, and friends for their support during the hard time.

The family had recently been visited by Child Protective Services, Waddell said, although sheriff's officials found no signs of trouble or violence during their visit.

This March 20, 2016 photo shows Hart family of Woodland, Wash., at a Bernie Sanders rally in Vancouver, Wash. By the time the CPS employee returned on Monday, the Harts were gone, DeKalb said.

"We did not see any abuse", he said. They were "friendly enough", he said, but "privacy was a big thing for them". The guilty plea prompted the dismissal of a charge of malicious punishment of a child.

A teacher initially called police after seeing bruises on the 6-year-old girl's stomach and back.

Jennifer Hart and Sarah Hart, were both 38.

"They are lovely examples of opening arms to strangers, helping youth, supporting racial equality", Ribner, who lives in Portland, said.

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