Partial Foot Inside Shoe Confirms a Hart Family Death

16-year-old Hannah is 7th to be confirmed dead in March crash
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2019 7:50 AM CST
7th Death Confirmed in Hart Family Crash
This March 28, 2018, aerial photo shows the pullout where the SUV of Jennifer and Sarah Hart was recovered off Pacific Coast Highway 1, near Westport, Calif.   (Alameda County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

One of two children considered missing after their family's SUV sped off a Northern California cliff in March has been confirmed dead. DNA tests on a partial foot recovered near the crash site in Westport in May confirmed it to be that of 16-year-old Hannah Hart, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday. Married parents Jennifer and Sarah Hart, both 38, and three of six adopted children—Markis, 19, Abigail, 14, and Jeremiah, 14—were confirmed dead as the vehicle was discovered on March 26, 2018. Remains of a fourth child, 12-year-old Ciera, were found in April, but Hannah, 16, and Devonte, 15, remained missing. The test on the partial foot, found inside a shoe attached to a pair of jeans, was made possible as the biological mother of Markis, Abigail, and Hannah emerged in October to provide a DNA sample, reports KGW.

As the sheriff's department has "not received any indication of Devonte being located elsewhere … the most likely scenario is that he too perished in this incident but the case remains open and active," per a release. Authorities have described the crash at the cliff along the Pacific Coast Highway as intentional. Jennifer's blood-alcohol content was over the legal limit when investigators say she accelerated off the cliff without braking. Sarah and some of the children were sedated, per CNN. The family had set out from Woodland, Wash., days earlier as child-welfare officials looked for them. Reports from officials in three states describe parents who withheld food as punishment for small transgressions, like possessing a penny and laughing at the dinner table. A new podcast, Broken Harts, explores the case in greater detail, per E! (Read more Hart family stories.)

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