April 8 (UPI) — Law enforcement officials in Northern California said a body was found near the site of a car crash that likely killed eight people last week.
Police are still searching for Hannah Hart, 16; Sierra Hart, 15, and Devonte Hart, 15 — three of six children to Sarah and Jennifer Hart, who was driving the family’s SUV when it careened 100 feet off a cliff near Westport, Calif. The body found this weekend is likely that of a black female, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Saturday. It added that its investigators couldn’t assess the body’s likely age or identity and said a DNA analysis could take weeks.
After a vacationing couple noticed the body Saturday, another bystander pulled it from the water, the sheriff’s office said.
The Mendocino Beacon reported that searches have already looked at miles of coastline in the area.
Because the car, driving at 90 mph at the time of the March 26 crash, didn’t leave behind skidmarks on the road, investigators have speculated that Jennifer Hart may have driven off the Pacific Coast Highway intentionally.
The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services has looked into the parents’ treatment of their children, saying the kids were “identified as potential victims of alleged abuse or neglect.”
Authorities think all members of the Hart family, of Woodland, Wash., were in the SUV and died in the crash, The Oregonian reported. So far, they’ve confirmed the deaths of Jennifer and Hannah and three of their children, aged 14 to 19.