One of the moms who died when an SUV plunged off a Northern California cliff, killing a family of eight, told a friend days before that she was so sick she might have to go to hospital.
Sarah Hart texted her friend Cheryl Hart, who shares the same last name but is not related to the family, the alarming message at 3am on March 24.
The text came just hours after the family was visited by Child Protective Services.
When Cheryl did not hear from Sarah for two days, she called a Clark County emergency dispatcher on March 26.
‘Nobody has been able to get ahold of her, talk to her or seen her since… or her wife, which is Jen,’ Cheryl told the dispatcher at 1.15pm, according to 911 call records obtained by The Oregonian.
One of the moms who died when an SUV plunged off a Northern California cliff, killing a family of eight, told a friend days before that she was so sick she might have to go to hospital (Pictured is Sarah and Jennifer Hart with some of their adopted children)
Sarah Hart texted her friend Cheryl Hart, who shares the same last name but is not related to the family, the alarming message at 3am on March 24. Cheryl called 911 two days later when she hadn’t heard from Sarah – it was the same day the family’s SUV was discovered
Cheryl also said she had checked hospitals, but none said they had a record of treating Sarah.
Several hours after she called authorities, the family’s SUV was discovered at the bottom of a scenic Mendocino County cliff.
Authorities found the bodies of Sarah and Jennifer Hart and three of their adopted children, Markis, Jeremiah and Abigail.
Three other children, Hannah, Sierra and Devote, are still missing.
On Saturday, a body was pulled from the surf in that area and authorities are working to determine whether it belongs to one of the children.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office said in a statement that a couple vacationing along the coast saw a possible body, which was pulled from the surf by a third bystander.
Authorities found the bodies of Sarah and Jennifer Hart and three of their adopted children, Markis, Jeremiah and Abigail
The body appears to be that of an African American female, but the age and identity could not immediately be determined, said Lt Shannon Barney.
While authorities said they believe the body may be that of one of two missing girls from the crash, positive identification will most likely be done by DNA analysis, which could take weeks.
There were no signs of the other two children, officials said Saturday.
Authorities have said that data from the vehicle’s software suggested the crash was deliberate.
Investigators believe that Jennifer drove the car off the cliff intentionally as there were no skid marks and evidence shows the speedometer was ‘pinned’ at 90mph.
Authorities have been scouring the crash site to try and find the bodies of the three other children, Hannah, Sierra and Devote, who are still missing
They said the SUV had stopped at a coastal highway overlook before speeding straight off the cliff and plummeting 100 feet (31 meters) into the rocky Pacific Ocean below.
The California Highway Patrol also released a photo of Jennifer Hart shopping at a grocery store just a day before the crash, and revealed more details about their movements.
The family appear to have left their home in Woodland, Washington on March 23, after a next-door neighbor called Child Protective Services to report that the couple weren’t feeding the kids.
An official went to the family’s home, knocked and rang the doorbell and left her card in the front door, records said.
Two officials returned March 26 – the day the Harts’ SUV was found – and the card from the Friday before had been removed.
One of the officials left another card and called law enforcement and requested a welfare check.
A deputy went the same day to the residence and no one appeared to be home, records said.
Authorities returned the next day, and no one appeared to be home again.
A family cellphone pinged in Newport, Oregon, around 8.15am on March 25.
CHP believes the family then drove south on Highway 101, and then State Route 1, arriving in the Fort Bragg, California area 12 hours later.
It’s believed that the family stayed the night in the area, since Jennifer was seen checking out of a Fort Bragg grocery store around 8.15am on Sunday, March 25.
Authorities say the family stayed in Fort Bragg until 9pm that evening, at which point it seems they turned around and started traveling north again on State Route 1.
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.
Surveillance footage shows Jennifer Hart (right) checking out of a grocery store in Fort Bragg, California just hours before she is believed to have driven off a cliff with her wife and their kids inside
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman revealed on HLN that he is now calling the crash a ‘crime’ instead of an accident
Records showed that the Hart children were removed from public school in Alexandria, Minnesota the day after Sarah Hart reached a probation agreement stemming from the child abuse case in April.
That came a week after Hart pleaded guilty to physically abusing one of her daughters, who was six at the time.
The kids were taken out of school and moved to Oregon, where they were privately educated from there on out, the Oregonian reported.
Investigators are now examining ‘red flags’ in the Washington family’s past in the hope of explaining why they drove off the cliff in an apparent suicide plunge.
While investigators initially said there was no indication the crash was anything but an accident, data from the vehicle’s software now suggested the incident was deliberate.
The SUV appears to have stopped at a dirt pull-off area about 70 feet from the cliff, according to the vehicle’s on-board computer
‘This situation may have been an intentional act and not the result of a traffic collision,’ the highway patrol said.
The SUV appears to have stopped at a dirt pull-off area about 70 feet from the cliff, according to the vehicle’s on-board computer.
It then accelerated over the edge, leaving no skid marks or other indications of a collision. The SUV fell into rocks and was found partially submerged about 100 feet below the highway.
Bruce and Dana DeKalb, the family’s next-door neighbors, called child welfare officials last month because the couple’s 15-year-old son, Devonte, had been coming to their house almost every day for a week, asking for food.
They said the teen claimed his parents were ‘punishing them by withholding food.’
Investigators are now examining ‘red flags’ in the Washington family’s past in the hope of explaining why they drove off the cliff in an apparent suicide plunge
Devonte, an African-American boy who is still missing, drew national attention after he was photographed in tears while hugging a white police officer during a 2014 protest.
The discovery of the body Saturday follows a two-day storm that swept through Northern California.
The sheriff’s office noted that it is not uncommon after a significant storm that items would surface or wash onto the beach.
‘The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is monitoring the ocean conditions to see when further searches might be safely conducted,’ Barney said. ‘This evaluation includes the use of divers if conditions permit.’
Police searched the family’s home, which was about 500 miles north of the crash site, but found no suicide note.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the family’s home in Woodland and looked for itineraries, bank and phone records, credit card receipts, journals or other documents that might shed light on the case.