They were the “picture perfect” homosexual family- two lesbians who “married” and then adopted six black children- and lots of photos of everybody looking happy. But after revelations came out that the women were starving their children and CPS began to investigate, the women went on a murder-suicide rampage, putting all the children into a van and then driving off a cliff, killing all of them.
The lesbian mothers who died on Monday along with at least three of their six adopted children after plunging 100ft over a coastal cliff in California had been reported to Child Protective Services days earlier for allegedly starving their kids.
On Friday, neighbors of Jennifer and Sarah Hart, both 39, called CPS to report that their son Devonte had come to their home asking for food every day for a week.
They said Devonte – who made national headlines when he was pictured hugging a police officer during a 2014 protest – asked them to leave food out in a box for him and said his mothers were ‘punishing’ him by not feeding him.
In 2017, another of the children came to their home at 1.30am asking for their ‘protection’ and claiming the women did not treat her well.
They also said one of the daughters who was 12 looked about seven and had no front teeth.
On Friday, a CPS worker arrived at the home and knocked on the door, according to the neighbors Bruce and Dana DeKalb, but the Harts never answered.
Instead, they packed up in a hurry and fled with all six kids in their 2003 GMC Sierra truck, they said.
‘The next morning when we saw that the vehicle was gone, and then Sunday morning when it still wasn’t there, we figured something was off because they never go anywhere.
‘They go to the store and back but.. we figured that they saw the (CPS) business card and loaded up the kids as quick as they could and took off, ‘ Mr. DeKalb told KGW on Thursday.
On Monday, their bodies were found at the bottom of a cliff in Westport, California, off Highway 1 along with the bodies of three of their children, Markis, 19; Jeremiah 14; and Abigail, 14.
Hannah, 16; Devonte, 15; and Sierra, 12, have not been found.
It is not clear yet if they drove over the cliff purposefully or by accident but police said no brake marks were found at the scene.
To reach the cliff edge at the lookout, the women would have had to have driven off the Pacific Highway and traversed 75ft of rugged dirt road.
It is not known yet if they came to a stop at the edge before falling over.
‘I can tell you it was a very confusing scene because there were no skid marks, there were no brake marks, there was no indication of why this vehicle traversed approximately over 75ft of a dirt pull out and went into the pacific ocean,’ Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said on Wednesday.
‘We have no reason to believe, we have no evidence, that this was an intentional act. Certainly people are wondering what caused this.
‘If this was an intentional act, I truly believe we are going to come to that conclusion.
‘If we do, that information will be released to the public,’ he added.
It was also revealed this week on Wednesday that in 2011, Sarah Hart pleaded guilty to a domestic assault charge in Minnesota.
Her plea led to the dismissal of a charge of malicious punishment of a child, online court records say.
Another neighbor who lived near the family in Oregon years ago said the children mostly stayed inside and were not allowed to eat sugar.
Bill Groener, 67, was a next-door neighbor of the Harts when they lived in West Linn, Oregon, and said the kids stayed indoors most of the time.
He said the family grew their own vegetables, had animals and went on camping trips but that he never worried about their wellbeing.
‘Something just didn’t seem right. They were very isolated in the home,’ he said, adding he felt ‘guilty he never called (child) services’.
The revelations by officials in Woodland, Washington, suggest the family was not the happy, blended unit police painted them as when their bodies were found.
In family photographs, they are the picture of happiness.
Police do not know yet if the family was driving north or southbound when they turned on to the cliff edge.
Their vehicle was spotted in the water by a passerby on Monday. No one saw it go over the edge, according to police.
‘I don’t know that they were parked and continued to roll. I don’t know if it rolled over the edge, if it launched over the edge.
‘We will not know until we get all our tests and photographs back,’ said a Highway Patrol officer on Wednesday.
By the time they were found, police say they had been in the water for several hours.
In Woodland, Washington, the family lived in a $400,000 home which they bought in 2017.
Police are appealing for anyone with information to come forward. They are asking for anyone who may have seen them in a restaurant or hotel in the days beforehand to contact them.
They are also still considering the three children who were not found as missing people and say in the best case scenario, they were not in the vehicle at the time of the crash. It is not clear what either woman did for a living. (source)