March 29 (UPI) — Authorities say three children are still unaccounted for in Northern California after their family’s SUV plunged off a cliff this week, presumably killing everyone aboard.
Officials believe two women and their six children were in the SUV when it drove off an embankment from California’s Pacific Coast Highway in Mendocino County.
The women, who were married, were identified as Jennifer and Sarah Hart from Woodland, Wash, Three of the children — Markis Hart, 19; Jeremiah Hart and Abigail Hart, both 14 — were also confirmed dead.
Authorities, though, have not yet found the other three children — Devonte Hart, 15; Hannah Hart, 16; and Sierra Hart, 12.
Devonte Hart gained national attention in 2014 when he was photographed hugging a police officer during a protest in Portland, Ore. The photo was taken the day after a grand jury decided not to charge a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in the controversial shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Investigators who searched the Harts’ home in Washington state did not find the three missing children there.
“An entire family vanished, and perished during this tragedy,” Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said. “We have every indication to believe that all six children were in [the vehicle].”
The SUV was found 100 feet below U.S. Highway 1, on its roof along the rocky shoreline. The bodies of the three found children were outside the vehicle and the women were inside.
“It was a very confusing scene because there were no skid marks, there were no brake marks,” Allman said. “There was no indication of why this vehicle traversed approximately over 75 feet of a dirt pullout and went into the Pacific Ocean.”
Allman, though, said authorities don’t yet have evidence and “no reason to believe” to indicate the crash was intentional.
The U.S. Coast Guard is searching by rescue boat, while the California Highway Patrol used a fixed-wing airplane and helicopter.