Large Scale Search of Area Where Hart Family Crashed Near the Ocean Looking for Three Missing Juveniles to Begin Tomorrow at Low Tide

vehicle crash near the ocean

[Photo from Mendocino Sports Plus]

On March 26, a family in a vehicle went off Hwy 1 at Juan Creek. Five bodies were later located. The case has received national attention. Below is a press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

On 04-02-2018 the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office received information that Jennifer Hart may have been seen on 03-25-2018 at a business in Fort Bragg, California.

Sheriff’s Office investigators obtained video footage from the business and noted it was of a poor quality resolution. The footage was provided to CHP investigators who are working with FBI agents in an attempt to enhance the viewing quality.

As of 04-03-2018 the search for the missing children (Hannah Hart, DeVonte Hart and Sierra Hart) is still ongoing.

As of this date it is still unclear if the missing children were inside the vehicle during the incident.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is focused on search efforts as if they were inside the vehicle while the California Highway Patrol is focused on search efforts as if they were not inside the vehicle. At this point there in no obvious information to suggest either possibility.

To date there has been ongoing searches including by aircraft, by boat and by land in the area of the crash site and the shoreline in Mendocino County and Sonoma County. Search & Rescue divers have been unable to dive in the area of the crash site due to unsafe ocean conditions.

A large scale Search & Rescue operation with approximately 71 searchers is schedule to begin on 04-04-2018 at 8:00 AM during low tide conditions with the base of the operation being located at the MacKerricher State Park.

The search area will focus from the Noyo Harbor to the MacKerricher State Park based upon ocean current and drift pattern analysis conducted by the US Coast Guard. A further search will be conducted from the crash site with focus to the south of that location. This search is anticipated to include aircraft, boat and land searchers.

The following public safety agencies will be participating in the 04-04-2018 search operation:

Contra Costa County Search & Rescue
Bay Area Mountain Rescue
San Mateo County Search & Rescue
Marin County Search & Rescue
Sonoma County Search & Rescue
Lake County Search & Rescue
Mendocino County Search & Rescue

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would also like to thank the following public safety agencies that have assisted thus far in the missing persons and coroner’s investigation to date:

Westport Fire Department
Fort Bragg Fire Department
Cal Fire
California Highway Patrol
Portland Oregon Police Department
Clark County Washington Sheriff’s Office
Grant County South Dakota Sheriff’s Office
Huron City South Dakota Police Department
Cowlitz County Department of Social Services
Alameda County California Sheriff’s Office

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 a press release each day at 9:00 AM highlighting 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 and by accessing the press release page on the website.

Earlier Chapters:



  • One of the ladies could have had a “Medical Episode” and maybe her foot
    pressed the wrong petal.

    • No. Police now have proof they stopped, removed seatbelts, aimed the car, then floored it off the cliff.

      • Link please! That sounds like BS to me… “proof” when they said there were no skidmarks? Presumably, no peeling-out skids either. And they can tell exactly when the seatbelts were removed? There must have been a video camera on in the vehicle that survived the crash and the ocean.

        • JustWantToHeartheEndoftheStory

          There were, still are, “peeling out marks”, the images have been on several stories about this incident. The second by second recount of what occurred will never be known, but getting huffy over miniscule details doesn’t lessen the impact of the result.

          • Link please!
            No detail is “miniscule” when it comes to forensics. If there wasn’t a video camera recording, one guaranteed not to have been tampered with, it’s all speculation and every clue counts.

            • Cancel that, i got your CNN link. Of course i am not so sure of anything!

              • The cops have said repeatedly there where no speed or break marks.
                The deep tire tracks people are seeing in the photos are from when they pulled the vehicle up over the cliff.
                Look at photos when the car was on the rocks, then compare them to photos after the car was removed and you will see the difference.
                The cops have explained this many times.

  • Or their vehicle was tampered with. Unfortunately the family received many death threats after their sons picture hugging a police officer went viral, so much so that they moved away from Portland and tried to stay out of the limelight.

  • “If you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras”

  • I heard that they were possibly seen at Geiger’s in Laytonville too, and that footage was being turned over as well

  • Why does no one to accept the truth? There were multiple child welfare issues at their home. One of the women took them over the cliff. No more taxpayer money should be spent on this.

  • I stand by my original opinion that these were rather odd ducks, and the latest information is that the oddness extended to homicide& suicide. Looking for horses rather than zebras is a wise course.

    1. What is the veracity of death threats? I seriously doubt if anyone cares if a youngster hugs a cop. I`ve even done it myself. It was a lady and she`s my cousin. It`s much more likely this is made up by these people for their own reasons.

    2. Tampering with a vehicle to cause this kind of thing would be virtually impossible. Not only would it require access to the vehicle, it would require a high level of technical skill if possible at all. Why would anyone have any interest in doing this?

    3. Their general lifestyle indicates people who are a very long way from stable and well adjusted. Conviction for beating a child and what is apparently a reliable report of the children going to the neighbors to beg for food is indicative of people a long way from qualified to raise children.

    It`s of course entirely a private matter whatever consenting adults choose to do and whatever lifestyle they construct for themselves. Bringing children into such a situation is no longer keeping it between consenting adults. Allowing children into these circumstances is a quite egregious example of abuse. Hopefully soon it will be recognized as such and this sort of thing will not be allowed.

    • Stephanie Thomas

      I agreed with most of what you said until you became homophobic. Perhaps straight people should stop accidentally creating unwanted humans who are then orphans? Gay parents can be just as loving (or unloving) as other parents.

  • Addenda here: It certainly was a “medical episode” Serious and long standing mental illness.

    • Breakthesilence

      Thank you.

      People wake up! Jen Hart was a controlling selfish narcissist. Sarah may have taken the conviction in MN but remember, the victim initially accused Jen of bruising her. That is a huge red flag as to the control and abuse generated by one person only . Yea , she’s Thing One alright. All about her. Do your own digging, it’s pretty obvious to me that Jennifer Hart alone drove that rig over the edge. To think anything else is not logical .. She is a mass murderer.

      Thank u Kym for bringing this story back to the front page. Intentionally killing 4 people (likely 7) AND 2 dogs is mass murder. And despicable.

      Ignore all those who try to heap blame on Sarah for this, and ignore as well the Jen Hart fans telling you how awesome she was. Sarah was controlled and manipulated, and in the end murdered by the woman she loved and had committed hé life to..

      Sadly psychopathy poses as love, that’s how it works.

  • I’m always looking around corners…
    In this case I find myself wondering about the three missing kids.
    There is a storyteller in me who wants to know the actual cause of death for the five who were fished from the sea…
    But I tend to plot things and this may well not be plotted, just tragic.
    Still – I don’t think the missing trio will be found. Not all of them.

    • Diving for bodies in salt water is pointless. Bodies live or dead, float in salt water! Currents in that area run south/west. If those kids were thrown in the water you people should be looking in Santa Cruz Santa Barbara area,NOT at the crash site. Any search and rescue person should know this unless this is a dog n pony show.

  • This is easily one of the most horrific unsettling incomprehensible tragedies . . . beyond imagining. One thing I have not seen reported is who was behind the wheel? Was it a scheme of one? or a joint venture?

  • I don’t think we can rule out a system failure on the 03 Yukon XL. I can’t find any info saying there *was* drive by wire tech on that vehicle, but that was when it was first coming out. At 15 years old, we can’t rule out equipment failure.While this may not be an ideal family, folks don’t tend to go through the trouble & expense of adoption & then kill off the entire family. The electronics probably were not designed to survive sea water exposure, so we may never know. gress-senate/u-s-senator-accuses-gm-of-culture-of-cover-up-in-recalls-idUSBREA3118S20140402

    • Breakthesilence

      It’s generally accepted knowledge that they were collecting a monthly stipend on each child “adopted” thru state foster system..

      @lauracooskey while this info has been broadly available for the last 4days I will copy/paste it with a link for you.

      It is mind boggling that there is no easy explanation (like mechanical or medical glitch) other than the obvious easy explanation -murder/suicide.

      …”Police said that preliminary information suggested the car may have been intentionally driven straight off the edge of the cliff.

      Data from the vehicle’s air bag module and software indicated that the car had stopped at the pull out and then accelerated off the road, said Greg Baarts, acting assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol’s Northern Division.

      “At this point in our investigation, that is the direction we are going,” Baarts said.

      Possibly intentional?
      Preliminary data from the car suggested that there had been approximately 70 feet of continuous acceleration from the last moment the brakes were applied before the SUV went over and hit the ocean floor, Baarts said.

      There was no evidence to suggest the car had been driving at an angle when it left the road, he said….”

  • This case is simpler than a lot of people want to accept for whatever reason.
    1 or 2 cases of mental illness = 8 person suicide/homicide event! Damn near every clue you need to come to that conclusion is there, except a suicide note or manifesto or whatever Looney literature they leave normally!

  • So we should keep cars and trucks out of the hands of mentally unstable people because of “mass” killings such as these? …. no comment needed, just throwing it out there


      Yes,drivers license renewal review.
      That would be great if the crazies couldn’t drive.
      But they can’t even keep people on known terrorist lists from legally buying guns.

  • I just keep hoping these missing kids, who are old enough to take care of themselves, managed to save themselves hy leaving before the car went over the cliff and are alive.

    • The ages were 12 yrs, 15 yrs and 16 yrs old. If they were alive someone would have seen them. If they survived their life on the street will not be a sweet one.

  • Lets think about this…. The cliff where this accident happened is in a very remote part of Mendocino County, an area which is neglected by the state for road maintenance and guardrail maintenance; take a good hard look at the photo and you will see that portions of the embankment where this family drove off have recently slid into the ocean, see the red earth…. This area of Hwy 1 is also extremely foggy as it was on the morning the family drove off. The fact that there is zero ledge on this cliff and absolutely no indicator such as a pile of dirt or any guardrail leads me to believe that this very well could have been an accident, possibly an accident for which the State of California and Caltrans may be responsible for. Where is the safety barrier in this 100 foot dead drop cliff if the car had been going fast it would have launched, but photos clearly show that the car looks as if it rolled down the hill, could this family had pulled over in dense fog and then took off only to become disorientated and drive off the cliff, could the crash have happened at night or early morning hours? Could the State of California be covering up its failure to properly put safety guard rails in this area, take a drive North of Westport and you will see neglected roads, neglected maintenance and this cliff with absolutely no guard rail or any type of warning of the 100 plus foot cliff… Could the other children be staying in a cacation rental in the area? Why not go back through all the bank records and atm records, the woman is holding a bankcard buying bannanas in the Fort Bragg Safeway, mind you they were organic bannanas…. If she was gonna kill her family, why bother with organic bannanas, I think the missing children could still be alive somewhere. Maybe the Sheriff needs to take an unbiased look at this family without racism or other discriminations…

  • A car that launches does not roll down a hill, where are the guardrails, there are obvious signs of recent cliff erosion… Why is the State not admitting that the Safety Guard rail is missing and there was no indication of the dead drop off the cliff…. is Caltrans neglect to blame? Where are the cones or safty guardrail warning of a steep cliff.

    • JustWantToHeartheEndoftheStory

      It’s a wide turn out off a narrow road, anyone with eyes can see there is a cliff there. Have we gotten to the point where each and every inch of coastal highway has to be hemmed in by guard rails? Perhaps there should be reflective lenses and guard rails around all redwood trees, as people seem to keep hitting them. If someone wants to drive off the road, they will find a way to do it, safety cones not withstanding.

      • Totally agree with you here. The type of people who want big brother government to coddle them through every step of life worry me. Although the judges who reward all these questionable law suits are to blame too. How about a littler personal responsibility. Life is hard and has risks, get a helmet.

  • Findthechildren

    If the three children, two of which are teenagers, weren’t in the car and are still alive, they must be experiencing terrible grief and trauma. They just lost their parents and three siblings. Hard to explain or picture any of this, it so horrendous. Prayers that those children will be found alive and physically unharmed.

  • The photo of the accident spot looks like the pull out is missing any barrier to the cliff, and the cliff has recently eroded and slid into the ocean, see the green grass sliding down the hill…. Driving off a cliff would be the last thing someone who is suicidal would do, let alonr drive off with all those kids, of course the state wants it to be a suicide murder scenario, if it was a. Accident as it appears to be, the state faces a HUGE LIABILITY for the unmaintained pullout with lack of safety cones, signs or guardrail or even dirt pile guarding against a car going off this shear face cliff that had absolutely no warning signs. Look at the picture of the crash spots….

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