MENDOCINO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a family killed when their SUV plummeted off a California highway (all times local):
A woman says she alerted Oregon welfare officials about the parents of six adopted children believed killed last week when the family SUV plummeted from a California highway because she felt the parents were being cruel and withholding meals.
In a statement provided Tuesday to The Associated Press, Alexandra Argyropoulos said she witnessed what she felt to be emotional abuse and cruel punishment in 2013 toward the children by Jennifer and Sarah Hart.
Argyropoulos said she was told the children had been interviewed but there was nothing more the Oregon Department of Human Services could do because there was not enough evidence to make a case.
West Linn police said previously that Oregon social service authorities contacted them about the family in 2013 while they were living in the area. The state agency cited privacy laws in refusing to say whether its officials were involved.
Authorities are investigating whether a surveillance video from Fort Bragg, California, shows a woman the day before her family’s sport utility vehicle was found at the bottom off a cliff along the Pacific Coast at a scenic viewpoint.
Mendocino County Sheriff Lt. Shannon Barney told The Oregonian/OregonLive Tuesday the woman in the video looks like Jennifer Hart but that the footage is “very grainy.”
Sarah and Jennifer Hart were found dead at the crash scene March 26 along with three of their children.
Three other children remain missing. Authorities have said the crash was probably deliberate.
One of the missing children is 15-year-old Devonte Hart, a black youngster who drew national attention after he was photographed in tears while hugging a white police officer during a 2014 protest.