[UPDATE 4:11 p.m.] Benadryl Found in Bodies of Some of the Hart Family Killed in Mendocino Crash; Jen Hart Drunk, Says Law Enforcement

vehicle crash near the ocean

Emergency personnel at the scene of the March 26 crash. [Photo from Mendocino Sports Plus]

Jennifer Hart, the driver of the 2003 GMC that went off Hwy 1 on March 26, was intoxicated, according to Sheriff Tom Allman of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department. He said her blood alcohol level was .102. Hart’s six adopted children and her wife are believed to have been killed along with her in the crash although not all the children’s bodies have been recovered.

California Highway Patrol Captain Bruce Carpenter stated during a press conference today, “As of yesterday,…we got some preliminary toxicology results back as part of the Coroner’s investigation…Sarah Hart had a significant amount of the ingredient commonly found in Benedryl. As of today, two of the children also were determined to have Benedryl type substances in their system. The third child that has been recovered that has not been determined yet.”

Carpenter said The FBI was working closely with local law enforcement to help determine what had happened. “We believe that the Hart Incident was, in fact, intentional,” he said.

He stated that when Hart was about 70 feet from the edge of the pullout, “[T]here was a braking action and then just acceleration.” He said, “The FBI is deploying their behavioral analysis unit to try to help us understand what happened.”

While Benadryl is commonly used for allergies, some people also use it to help them fall asleep. At this time, Carpenter said that there isn’t enough information to indicate why some members of the Hart family had the drug in their bodies.

Hart family with three missing outlined

While one of the three missing bodies of the Hart children is believed to have been located, two children–one of the girls and Devonte are still missing.

UPDATE 4:11 p.m.:

On 04-13-2018 the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Division received preliminary BA/Toxicology analysis results connected to autopsies that were previously performed in connection with this case.

Those preliminary results showed Jennifer Hart had a .102 BAC (blood alcohol content) while Sarah Hart and two of the children had a positive toxicology finding in their blood for Diphenhydramine, an active ingredient in Benadryl.

The Coroner’s Division is still awaiting the BA/Toxicology analysis of the third child that was recovered on 03-26-2018.

At this time the Coroner’s Division is not releasing the names of the children associated with these toxicology findings.

The shoreline searches conducted on 04-12-2018 by patrol deputies were unsuccessful in locating any of the missing children (Hannah Hart, DeVonte Hart and Sierra Hart) or physical evidence associated with this investigation.

Searches of the Mendocino County coastline will continue with on-duty patrol deputies as calls for service allow.  Mendocino County Search & Rescue divers are preparing to be deployed to the area of the crash site once ocean conditions improve for safety reasons.  It is anticipated that ocean conditions will not improve for several days.

Future press releases will only be disseminated when significant developments occur or when large scale Search & Rescue Operations are scheduled.  The daily press release will be discontinued after today.

Ongoing updates/photos will also be posted on the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office facebook page as information becomes available (https://www.facebook.com/MendocinoSheriff).

Due to the massive media attention related to this incident the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has been receiving an overwhelming amount of telephone calls and emails.  The massive number of inquires for information is hampering the routine daily operations of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

In an attempt to resolve this situation the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office will be sending out an electronic written press release each day at 9:00 AMhighlighting information from the previous day’s investigative work.

All telephone call and email inquires will be referred directly to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office press release page on our website.

Anyone wishing to subscribe to the Sheriff’s Office automated press release notification system can do so by visiting www.mendocinosheriff.com and by accessing the press release page on the website.

Earlier Chapters for Hart Family:




  • what a horrorshow. on a related topic, i find it interesting that one ‘human rights’ violation that could arguably be the point of contention between the west and Russia, is Russia’s stance where it comes to their nation’s children being adopted out to same sex couples in the west. there is one case in particular that led to Russia setting this ban. https://www.rt.com/news/pedophile-syndicate-russian-boy-481/ perhaps there is wisdom to be gained from our “enemy”.

  • Veteran's Friend

    Not enough information
    Plenty of willingness to speculate
    RIP, Harts

  • Had a weird feeling something was put in those bananas when I saw that she only bought that one item idk easy way to fool the kids seriously fucked up all the way around poor kids rip .

  • Fucking horrible, I hope they were asleep, special place in hell for the driver.

  • It gets sadder and sadder.

  • Just fyi Diphenhydramine is sometimes prescribed by docs to help sleep. Its not super strong in my experience.
    Or you can get the same thing for .99cents at grocery outlet…..

  • ←☆■☆→


    Although this article is about guns its very telling of how murder-suicides are on the rise in a very big way

  • A friend of mine just shared this article. Some insights to this and other situations.

    • Was waiting for that shoe to drop. And the “it’s all racism”millipede has a million of them. Just as many as the “it’s all homophobia”, “it’s all misogyny”, “it’s all about income inequality”, “it’s all left wing (or right wing for that matter) conspiracies”, etc. Once you really believe it always is about what you have chosen to believe it is, everything becomes food for that mill. Even those trying to find real human issues that vary are going to see anything they chose to say as fitting the pattern of the “it’s always” blame machine.

      If the children had been removed, it would have been both racism and homophobia. If they hadn’t been removed, it still would have been about racism and homophobia.

      • Cognitive Bias definition- a mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, or other cognitive process, often occurring as a result of holding onto one’s preferences and beliefs regardless of contrary information.

        • So you don’t think Guest’s last paragraph has any merit whatsoever? Could be you’re a bit delusional maybe to the same degree as he’s holding on to prejudices.

        • If they’d been removed, it would’ve been because of the abuse and starvation.

          Them being lesbians had nothing to do with it.

          Transracial adoptions shouldn’t exist.

          Far too many children of color are dying at the hands of their white adoptive parents.

      • Lots of messed up people out there of all kinds.. people are people.. black, white, gay, straight, Indian, Mexican, men, women… I can think of terrible people in any of these categories and many more!
        But also lots of good people in all those categories.
        So stop categorizing people so much, look at the deed. This is a terrible situation no matter what. I’m not sure which is more tragic, this or the river accident.

    • Hey Kato, so you’re saying white people shouldnt be allowed to adopt black children? That’s some straight up racist s***.

      • No, it’s some REAL shit.

        White Savior Syndrome is real.

        ‘Look at me! I adopted this black kid and will now parade it around like a show pony’!

        These 2 evil bitches should’ve never been allowed to adopt 1) because the adoption agency they got the 1st 3 from, was operating illegally and 2) they beat one of the kids DURING the trial period.

        These bitches got away with abuse for over a decade and ACROSS state lines.

        Meanwhile, a black woman went to jail and got her kids taken away for homeschooling and another, because she left them in the car while she went to interview for a job.

    • Good read. The story of Jay Ram, white savior/ life destroyer, hand in hand as always:


  • Lots of enablers in this comment section tonight, this is truly a tragedy it’s starting to play out like a Greek tragedy

  • The haters unwilling to accept the results of a democratic election have started WW3. May God have mercy on our souls.

  • Cheerleaders and trolls abound.
    Meanwhile the BIRTH MOTHER and biological FATHER have their story.

    • Mendocino Mamma

      So , so, so sad. No not a bleeding heart. Thinking reality here. If the almost 300k that was given to these ladies to “care” for these children was spent on the family to help get mom sober, get some in home support and monitoring this outcome would be different. A small portion of 300k. There is a new law just passed about CPS and foster care demanded reforms, demanded assistance for families. Kids in the system that wind up taken never forget their biological families and likewise their families do not forget them. The harsh reality of judgement and what a social worker deems unfit in a 5 minute family contact is tragic. Family first. I’m sorry Davis family.

  • Sad to see that the two parents were able to just keep moving on to new locales and not be held accountable to the charges of abuse and neglect. It must be horrific for their family and friends to learn of the updates. Lost souls. May all the body recovery teams be surrounded by compassion and much support as they continue on with their task. So hard to read of the details. Thank you Kim for your coverage of this story. Folks, if you see something that your guts say something hinkey is happening, please report it. You might just very well be saving the life of an innocent one.

  • i don’t understand why benadryl is reported and not aspirin, or Pepto-bismol. Is benadryl the new devil’s lettuce? Is the County forming a Task Force?

  • Masonic Grand Master Tom

    Benadryl, give me a break, taken everyday for allergies, Allman trying to sell the public the murder story to avoid Mendocino County being liable for not having any warning of the sheer cliff eroding at this dangerous unmarked turnout. Mendocino county trying to cover theIr asses for deferred maintenance and liability……disgusting.

    • It said a significant amount

    • It’s also a help for car sickness. Which can plague a non driver on twisty roads.

      • It can also be used to completely knock someone unconscious… when used in SIGNIFIGANT AMOUNTS . It’s whats used in over the counter sleep aid

    • in elevated doses, it acts like Ambien

    • you use Dramamine for car sickness in children or another comparable product, not Benadryl as it’s for allergies or poison oak or insect bites not car sickness and causes drowsiness, ask a parent.

      • Dramamine/Benadryl = SAME ACTIVE INGREDIENT. C’MON !!!!

        • Nope, similar spelling though and similar effects but with the difference being Benadryl hits you faster and more suddenly which is why it’s used for allergic reactions and also why it makes you more drowsy. Obviously you don’t have children. Nice use of caps lock though.

          • WOW.

            John Ferguson, Neuropharmacology, Technology, Project Management
            Updated May 31 2016 · Author has 188 answers and 1.3m answer views

            ” Oddly enough, they are actually basically the same drug.
            Benedril is diphenhydramine (bonded in a hydrochloride salt formulation).
            Dramamine is also diphenhydramine, but bonded to 8-chlorotheophylline, which whoever put the two together decided to give a different name altogether: dimenhydrinate. To say the least, doing this was an unorthodox practice.

            The only functional difference between the medications is that upon dissociation, the hydrochloride salt (which is converted to hydrochloric acid in the stomach) possesses no bioactivity, while 8-chlorotheophylline goes on to be absorbed and pass the blood-brain barrier, where it acts as a mild stimulant not fundamentally different from caffeine. The purpose of this is to reduce drowsiness produced by diphenhydramine, but within the therapeutic dosage range the sedative effect of the diphenhydramine will always significantly outweigh the stimulant properties of the 8-chlorotheophylline.

            So to sum things up, you wouldn’t really be functionally incorrect to think of Dramamine simply as Benedril with just a pinch of caffeine. ”

            Thanks for at least FEELING MY FRUSTRATION. All done now.

            Gonna talk to my kid about the importance of researching what you speak on.

    • Yep, I’ll vote for that.

  • Food for thought: Comparing public reaction and expectations on the Thottapilly and the Hart accidents. Very similar scenarios, yet very different assumptions made by the police, the press, and public comments sections.
    I am not posting this comment on one of the Thottapilly threads because i have no reason to think that just because a parent (presumably the dad, but who knows) with his 3 other family members in the car pulled over so close to a river without braking (according to the witnesses following the car) that they rolled into the drink, meant to willfully drive himself and his family off the edge into certain death in high waters.
    But i am posting it here because i have to wonder why, from the get-go, so many people assumed there had to be foul play in the Hart case. I have always been terrified of driving, or being driven, no matter how slowly, at the edge of sheer drops into water–turning around or backing up at the edge of a road or parking spot. From early childhood, I have been frightened that the brakes might fail, the driver might misjudge distance, in a moment of confusion might hit the gas instead of the brake, etc… and worst fear, of course, that a driver, when angry, might purposely drive the vehicle off the edge.
    So when i read about the Hart family disaster i asked myself, could that last fear have been the scenario? And i gathered up all the reasons it probably wasn’t. No guardrail. Car full of kids. Confusion. Probably exhaustion. And all the stories that started coming out about the parents being contacted by CPS, about reports of abuse, etc., just made me think, Yeah, they’re a big messy real family. Things happen. No family is perfect. But to drive your family off the cliff would mean anger, hatred, and fear on a level that seems extremely unlikely given the parents’ purposeful adoption of these kids (they weren’t shoulda-been abortions for these parents; they chose them).
    The more information that comes out about the family, the more i worry that it could indeed be that anger or fear drove Jennifer Hart to intentionally do the worst thing imaginable. (Though the facts reported here today don’t really add to my suspicions. So the kids had had Benadryl, which i know many families give kids and pets for road trip calmness or, of course, for allergies this season; and the driver had had a few drinks–i checked the BAC charts, to get to .11 blood alcohol a 140-lb woman–just a guess–would have had three drinks in a not-too-leisurely timespan… but hardly like being raging drunk– these things do little to convince me she would intentionally drive off the road with the whole family on board.)
    Yet, even before these things came out… from the first posts, when all that was known was this was a lesbian white couple with black adopted children… the nasty comments were mostly assuming that she could not have accidentally driven off the cliff, that there had to be something creepy going on.
    So when this nice Indian-American family–Dad, Mom, two children presumably their own biological offspring–drives off the road into raging water, not one comment suggests anything but an accident. And as i said, i won’t suggest it on their page. But i just wonder… why, if we’re going to imagine Lesbo-Mom psycho-mad pulling a Thelma and Louise with the whole family along for the ride, don’t we imagine conventional Dad is tired of his family, tired of driving, maybe tired of the non-traditional culture of the Left Coast United States; and maybe this macho Dad, unable to get away with ruling his roost here the way he might in some other time or place, is ranting and raving as they cruise down the darkish, wet, stormy Eel River highway, and angry Dad just kind of wants to scare them maybe, and… anyway, all we know is the witness said (with no judgment, but it led me to question) that the car didn’t even hit the brakes. Just got close to the water, rolled over, and went in.
    So, not a pretty line of thought. But i wonder. And i don’t know why i shouldn’t wonder about him, if i’m going to wonder about Jennifer Hart.

    • Intentionally being obtuse.

      P.s. did you just normalize minimize and defend a 140# woman pounding 3 drinks before getting behind the wheel? You must be drunk .

      • Obtuse? Hardly. I pretty much spell out my idea. About your P.S.: I said knowing that didn’t convince me someone would drive over the edge. When you have a couple of drinks, do you pull something like this? I am sure it might impair judgment or cause an accident. But it hardly adds to the “intentional” argument–maybe the opposite.

        • mos def not, in fact even after a 12 pack I don’t think about killing anyone and find your assertion naive. these are sociopaths. your “thats not normal” supposition feeds this narrative perfectly. psychopaths. narcissists. indigo children, in the parlance of our time.

    • Because there is physical evidence of wrong doing plus a questionable history on one and none on the other case? And that was available from the first report. Certainly enough for speculation. Bigotry too is shown by some people refusing to allow that the evidence raises questions and calling out every questioner just because the person involved is a lesbian and every negative remark must be due to bias as much as the ones speculating murder because the deceased were lesbians. There is as much angry bias in that as in any other comment.

      • As information has come out, i’ve become more doubtful. I’m just saying that i see lock-step thinking, and raising questions about that is always a good idea, unless we have ALL the facts. And nobody has the facts of what went on in either of those vehicles before taking the plunge.

    • Miss Laura. omg, um ok, where do I start, um… How about this: you need to get off your phone for the rest of the day and take a time out. What a ridiculous thought process you had to of had coming up with this long winded crap comment that misses on a few different levels. And that’s just from the first few lines I read.

      • Something tells me you’ve replied to me before under another name… that “long-winded crap” comment. Oh wait though, there are a lot of people on phones for whom more than a tiny screen’s character limit is brain-taxing.
        Well, you did agree with one of my points (below)- that the alcohol level hardly indicates criminal intention.

        • Perhaps you should wonder how your personal biases have led you to construct a tale of moral equivalency starting with a poorly thought out supposition. When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

          • Moral equivalency? I’m talking circumstantial equivalence. In neither of these cases does anybody know what really happened. Yet in one there is all sorts of speculation, perhaps brought on by moral judgment, perhaps not–and in the other, not a peep. I’m not judging, i’m saying, Open your eyes to the possibilities–things are not always the way the majority of commenters think they are.

            • I agree, there is no evidence. Well except one scene had allot of evidence that has been recovered, and the other scene has none yet, but we should ignore the evidence from one scene and or assume that the evidence from the other will be the same? Commenters may not always right but sometimes the investigators are.

            • The circumstances and fact patterns are disparate as is the empirical evidence. The opinion of the majority of those who have commented has no bearing on my opinion. Logic does. Sometimes a contrary opinion is good to have. Other times it suggests an unwillingness to challenge your own belief system. Sometimes it is just foolhardy and offensive. The “macho dad” of which you speak appears to have been well loved by his family who most likely respected his position as the head of the family. He probably worked and sacrificed more than most to provide for them. Have you hit ground water yet?

    • The family that drove off the road in Legget we’re attempting to pull over and stop.
      End of story.
      As per an eyewitness.

      • “The car wasn’t going fast,” he explained. “I don’t think he hit his brakes…The car was not stopping…It goes up on two wheels and tumbled over the edge.”
        That’s the quote from the eyewitness. Trying to stop, you say, without hitting the brakes. Anything could have happened… we will never know what did.

    • Society drove her to this and they’re loath to let her go, even in death. That’s my take.
      I’d agree with your insight but didn’t witnesses say the family that fell in the river pulled over to let cars pass?

  • A nother sad situation in sohum nohum it’s been a long time since this amount of tradgy has hit our community let us pray for all involved​ and the peeps trying to recover the lost amen

  • Please , all you ostriches with your head in the sand, It was a planned event. Benedryl to drug themselves and Alcohol to loosen up the driver to do the unthinkable. Stop sticking up for the lesbians just because they are lesbians.

  • The press release is confusing. It says they’re going to discontinue the daily press release. A few paragraphs later it says it’s going to release a daily press release electronically. Why don’t they just say that, instead of that they’re going to discontinue it?

    I guess that’s Mendocino LE. Humboldt LE has its own weirdness, saying they don’t encourage residents to help stop a high speed pursuit, yet give citizens an award for said help.

  • And .102 doesn’t make you drive off a cliff with a carload of people, no way. That used to be only barely illegal. Just saying. My opinion, and I’m not entertaining arguments to the contrary at this time, so save it.

  • Sheriff Cover Up at Hand

    Lets not forget the right wing conservative thinking of our Sheriff Department…. As well as not forget that this family did not fit into their definition of what constitutes a “morally acceptable family unit”…. I believe this entire accident was approached with the belief that this family was guilty and on the run, there fore they must have intentionally crashed and that the crash was a murder suicide, lets not forget where law enforcement stands on the case in Ferguson and the entire “black lives matter” movement, these people were sticking up in protest against police brutality, and lived an “un-christian” lifestyle according to Right Wing “family values”…. The powers that be want to denounce this family and they want so badly for it to be a murder suicide to avoid the potential for lititgation due to the spot being unmarked, no cones or watning signs that the foggy cliff ledfe had slipped into the ocean over the winter from erosion….. Liability for the County and State dictates that this must be a murder suicide and not a accident the County and Staté are liable for…..

    • Do you live here? I ask because that road is better by far than most county roads. Beside it being a California highway, not a county road for which the county is liable. And it runs for over 600 miles along the ocean. Everyone driving that road knows where the ocean is, even if it had been foggy which it wasn’t.

      In fact the whole scenario concocted to blame the investigators is so weird that it must be the post of a right wing troll trying to rally … wait! I know it a Russian troll factory sowing dissension in the American populace by making stuff up that is so outrageously offbase.

      • Remember the old 2013 list of 72 potential ter ro rists who lost their rights in America?
        I wonder if there is now a new list that holds the opposite, or if it’s been totally deleted as, it literally should be.
        Just because a gay person protests prejudice and bias, goes to church and owns a gun to guard the community, is no reason to be put on a ridiculous list like this. But, that’s exactly what happened.

        • What do far leftists and far rightists have in common? They both believe the government is staffed with inhumanly organized employees capable of imposing agendas. The only difference is that the left believes the government will counteract the greedy right to enforce a good and noble social agenda with equality while the right thinks it will impose an evil and brutal one. So the left demands government action and the right resists government action but they both believe it is effective.

          Ha. Government has a long history of being thoroughly awful at being successful over the long term at any agenda except the one that expands and enshrines the government itself. It inevitably, on the occasion of hitting on good policy, keeps tinkering until it turns it into bad policy. Inevitably it goes to extremes in uses its authority. The government can not solve problems- the best government can do is provide organization so that people can solve their own problems. But it never stops there. It keeps pushing until it grabs defeat from the jaws of victory (as if victory over being human was ever achieved anyway.)

          The only time government needs to be feared is when the governed start believing that government is really competently good or bad. They then hand power over their lives, either in obedience or disobedience, to an institution who believes that more of itself is the solution. So don’t sweat government’s mistakes so much. Rejoice that mistakes are still visible as visible evidence that government is not so competent, hopefully encouraging people fall back on their own resources.


  • Veteran's Friend

    Having a BAC above .08 & ‘drunk’ are not the same thing.

    • I think what people are trying to say is that while .102 is legally drunk, it isn’t I’m so drunk that I don’t have the ability to control my impulses and decisions that I’m going to drive my family of a cliff drunk because one of them won’t behave. (sorry if I am assume for them incorrectly). But is most likely one of the pieces of the puzzle. It’s not like Jeffery Dahmer did what he did because he had 3 coors lights in a hour, but at the same time I bet you wouldn’t want to be in the vehicle if he had.

  • Not sure how a bac of .102 is newsworthy, that’s like 21/2 beers…maybe. And Benadryl is hardly a scoop, I guess every little bit is being analyzed here but allergy medicine…?

    • A Blood Alcohol Count of.102 will lead to an immediate arrest. That doesn’t seem insignificant to me…

      • I’m with Jeffersonian on this one… just because it’s barely over the legal limit, it’s not a smoking gun. And after a whole night or so before being found.. how accurate is that? And the kids have Benadryl in their system.. hmmm. Not surprised .. yet

  • Benadryl would definately work for car sickness for me. it knocks me out!

  • Mendocino Mamma

    Hello…yes Benadryl can knock you out, it is commonly given, could be easily hidden in BANANAS…especially if the children were HUNGRY. Notice the sly little smirk on Jen Hart’s face in the Safeway line photos.
    Twisted just twisted. No answers will bring the kids back, no answers are likely to be found no matter how long they are sought. RIP ♥it is horrible this happened. There is a special place in HELL for righteous self centered folks like her.

    • Hey.. you might be getting a little excited… it amazes me how quick people are to pick up the pitchforks. There is very little evidence to go on, although everyone seems to be painting a very ugly picture. Not saying it isn’t what it appears to be, I’m just saying… calm down, and let’s see what the evidence is. A sly smirk on the video is just your imagination I’m afraid.

      • Mendocino Mamma

        Evidence: an outward sign, indication. Anything that you see or read or are told that causes you to believe that something is true or has really happened.

        In light if that the evidence shows elevated BAC in Jen the driver.
        (Which if she would have been pulled over would have been arrested on site for DUI)

        Evidence shows “significant” not therapeutic levels of benadryl in more than one passenger in crashed vehicle.

        Evidence shows the children had reported problems with their treatment by the “parents” on several occasions.

        Evidence shows neighbors were concerned enough to call CPS.

        Evidence shows prior abuse conviction not just “claim” by one of the “parents”.

        Evidence shows MCSO deems crash as a crime.

        Evidence shows Jen alone on video buying bananas. Which I would have to say as a parent and grandparent anytime I go in the store all the kids want to come with and anytime I go in the store having five grandchildren with me we buy a lot more then a bunch of bananas .

        Hard to negate it all away.

        No pitchforks required.

      • evil poses as our lovers

        Emily you are usually more attuned to the facts . Very little evidence? You haven’t done much digging or even mainstream media digesting..

        “Pure acceleration ”

        “Intentional act. ”

        Not going to address the pathology that fueled this family. Suffice to say jennifer Hart is getting the “attention” she needed and in her final “narcissistic discard ” controls so many aspects and people in it’s aftermath. Mind boggling the lengths some will go to but the less I hear about her, or people defending this as some kind of “oopsie” mishap, the better.

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