- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

MENDOCINO, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on a family who died when their SUV plunged off a cliff in California (all times local):

5:35 p.m.

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.”


5 p.m.

Authorities in Northern California say 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.”


3:50 p.m.

One of three children who is missing after their siblings and parents were killed when their SUV plunged off a California cliff had gained fame when a picture of him hugging a white police officer during a protest went viral.

Fifteen-year-old Devonte Hart, who is black, was photographed during a 2014 protest in Portland, Oregon, over a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the shooting of a black man in Missouri.

Authorities say two women and three children were killed Monday when their SUV fell 100 feet from a cliff along Pacific Coast Highway in Mendocino County.

At the Portland rally Hart stood crying out of sadness over the events in Ferguson. He was holding a “Free Hugs” sign.

A Portland policeman saw his sign and asked if he could have a hug. The photo showed an emotional Devante embracing the officer.


3:20 p.m.

A woman who died when her family plunged off a Northern California cliff in an SUV pleaded guilty to a domestic assault charge in Minnesota in 2011.

Online court records say Sarah Hart’s plea in Douglas County, Minnesota, also led to the dismissal of a charge of malicious punishment of a child. No other details were immediately available.

The California Highway Patrol says she and another woman died along with their three children when their vehicle went off a cliff Monday. Their three other children are missing, and searchers are scouring the region.


2 p.m.

Authorities say they’re searching for three children who are unaccounted for after their siblings and parents plunged off a Northern California cliff.

The California Highway Patrol said Wednesday that 19-year-old Markis Hart, 14-year-old Jeremiah Hart and 14-year-old Abigail Hart died along with their parents, Jennifer and Sarah Hart.

Their SUV plunged 100 feet from the Pacific Coast Highway onto rocks in the ocean Monday.

Highway patrol says the couple’s three other children haven’t been found and searchers are scouring the region. They’re using boats, aircraft and unmanned drones to look for 16-year-old Hannah Hart, 15-year-old Devonte Hart and 12-year-old Sierra Hart.

The family lived in Woodland, Washington, a suburb of Portland, Oregon.

California authorities say the family appeared to be on a short road trip because many belongings remained in the home along with chickens and a pet.


1:40 p.m.

Authorities say child welfare officials in Washington state had recently visited the home of two women who died along with three children when their vehicle plunged off a cliff in Northern California.

The California Highway Patrol identified the adult victims Wednesday as Jennifer Hart and Sarah Hart, both 39. The agency says their SUV was driving Monday on the Pacific Coast Highway when it pulled into a dirt turnout and continued driving off the cliff.

Clark County sheriff’s Sgt. Brent Waddell told The Associated Press that the family lived in Woodland, Washington, and recently had a visit from Child Protective Services.

He says the sheriff’s office later entered the house and found no obvious signs of trouble or violence.

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