Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Skeletal remains recovered near Hart family crash site

Skeletal remains recovered near Hart family crash site

Skeletal remains were found inside of a child's shoe just a mile north from the Hart family vehicle crash, the Mendocino County Sheriff Office said.

Mendocino County deputies responded to the area of North Highway 1 and Hardy Creek in Westport at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Investigators said Jennifer and Sarah Hart, along with three of their adopted children, were pronounced dead immediately after the crash scene was discovered.

The jeans were a girl's size 10 regular, and the shoe was a kids' size 3.5 and/or a women's size 5.5.

Skeletal remains, along with jeans and a shoe, were found near the crash site on the California coast where the Hart family from Woodland died in March. Sierra Hart, whose legal name is Ciera, was found in the water not far from the crash site almost two weeks after the family's SUV went over a cliff.

Deputies said they found a human foot inside the shoe.

The sheriff's office did not confirm whether the remains belong to one of the missing children. The California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services Richmond DNA laboratory is being asked to use DNA analysis to identify the remains found on Wednesday.

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Mendocino Sheriff Search and Rescue members were at the area again on Thursday, conducting further search efforts.

The bodies of Jennifer and Sarah Hart and three of the children were recovered soon after the crash. Three of the children had the active ingredient in Benadryl - diphenhydramine - in their blood.

The names of the children associated with the toxicology findings have not been released. Authorities did not say which children tested positive for the drug. The shoe with the skeletal remains was released to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Division.

Toxicology results showed Jennifer Hart, who was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash, had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.

Their two other children, Devonte and Hannah, are still considered missing.

The body of Ciera Hart, 12, was found in the surf by Juan Creek on April 7.

While only a few details have emerged about the family's final months, it's clear that the family had drawn the attention of child welfare authorities in both Minnesota and OR after multiple reports that their children were neglected and malnourished.

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