Body Found In Waters Near Site of Hart Family Crash

Sunday, 08 Apr, 2018

Sheriff's officials said the body appears to be that of an African-American female but the age, identity, and cause of death are not known.

Saturday's discovery of a body was a potential breakthrough after an intense search for three missing Hart children, which had been suspended since Thursday amid a potent storm. The sheriff's office said identification would likely be done through DNA testing, which could take weeks.

Authorities have been providing daily updates into the search and rescue efforts.

Authorities in California recovered a body on Saturday they're investigating could be that of a member of the family that crashed off a cliff late last month.

The three children whose remains were found at the scene were identified as Markis, 19; Jeremiah, 14; and Abigail, 14.

There were no signs of the other two children, authorities said Saturday.

Authorities said at around 1:58 p.m. on Saturday, a couple who were vacationing along the coast discovered a possible body floating in the surf of the Pacific Ocean at Juan Creek.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, an SUV containing at least five people drove off a cliff and into the Pacific Ocean on March 26.

Sarah and Jennifer Hart and their six adopted children were all believed to have died when their auto ran off a cliff in what officials now believe was likely an intentional act. Authorities are now investigating a recording of Jennifer Hart that was taken at the Safeway in Fort Bragg on the evening of March 24, after the family is believed to have travelled south from OR on the morning of March 24.

An autopsy is planned for Tuesday.

"It is not uncommon after a significant storm, such as the one passing through the north state now, to bring items to the surface or wash onto the beach", a post to the sheriff's Facebook page read.

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.

Lt. Barney noted in a news statement that storms often churn the ocean, bringing things to the surface, and they have patrols monitoring conditions so they can relaunch a search of the water.

The Hart family crash - believed to have occurred on March 26 - has prompted a major police investigation and search and rescue operation. This evaluation includes the use of divers if conditions permit.

The crash occurred days after authorities began investigating accusations that the adopted children were being abused or neglected at home.