- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Washington state couple who lived next door to a family whose SUV plunged off a California cliff say they called authorities because they were concerned that one of the children was going hungry.

Bruce and Dana DeKalb said Wednesday that they called child welfare officials Friday after becoming concerned that one of the children, Devonte Hart, had been coming to their house too often in the past week asking for food.

Devonte gained widespread attention when he was photographed hugging a white officer during a 2014 protest over a fatal police shooting of a black man.

Property records show married couple Jennifer and Sarah Hart and their children bought the two-story home in Woodland, Washington, on two acres with a fenced pasture in May 2017.

The DeKalbs recounted a night three months after the family moved in when one of the girls rang their doorbell at 1:30 a.m.



Bruce DeKalb says she “was at our door in a blanket saying we needed to protect her. She said that they were abusing her.”

Authorities in Northern California said earlier Wednesday they believe all six children from a family were in a vehicle that plunged off a coastal cliff.

Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allmon told reporters Wednesday that only three bodies of the children have been recovered. Their parents also died Monday.

He says specialized crash investigators are studying the scene for clues, but it’s very curious because there were no skid or brake marks. But Allmon says there’s no reason to believe the crash was a deliberate act.

The sheriff appealed for the public’s help in retracing where the family had been in recent days.

Allmon says a passer-by called 911 about the crash, but investigators don’t know exactly when the SUV plunged into the ocean. He says “an entire family vanished and perished during this tragedy.”

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