April 17 (UPI) — Coroners Tuesday said a body found more than a week after an SUV plunged off a cliff into the ocean in Northern California belonged to one of the children missing from the crash site.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office’s Coroner’s Division used DNA analysis to identify the body as that of 12-year-old Ciera Hart. They said previous police reports of her age as 15 were incorrect.
Ciera and two of her siblings — Devonte Hart, 15, and Hannah Hart, 16 — were not found among the wreckage of the Washington family’s SUV after it went over a cliff March 26. Passersby discovered Ciera’s body nearby more than a week later. No other remains have been found.
Police have confirmed the deaths of Ciera’s adoptive mothers, Jennifer Hart, 38, and Sarah Hart, 39, as well as three of her siblings — Markis Hart, 19; Jeremiah Hart, 14; and Abigail Hart, 14.
Last week, the California Highway Patrol said Jennifer Hart, the driver of the SUV, had a blood alcohol level of 0.10 when the vehicle went over the cliff, 0.02 higher than the amount allowed by the law for drivers.
CHIP Capt. Bruce Carpenter said Sarah Hart and two of the three children found dead inside the SUV had an ingredient found in allergy medicine Benadryl in their systems. The ingredient can make a person feel drowsy.
The sheriff’s office said toxicology results from Ciera’s autopsy were pending.
Investigators believe Jennifer Hart intentionally drove the SUV off the cliff. Tracks at the top of the cliff indicate the vehicle stopped about 70 from the cliff’s edge and accelerated to between 20 mph and 30 mph before plunging over the edge.