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New Details About The 12-Year-Old Hart Girl Who Was Found Dead Near The Crash — And How One Of The Children's Adoptive Mothers Was Driving Drunk

Photo: FBI
New Details About The Hart Family’s Death And The New Body That Was Found

Police have identified a body found near the site of where a family of six plunged off a cliff in their car as one of the three children who have been missing since the crash. 

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the body found April 7 was that of Ciera Hart, 12, who was not found at the scene of the accident that killed her adoptive parents and three of her adopted siblings.

The sheriff’s office misspelled Ciera’s name as Sierra and incorrectly said she was 15 years old in its original statement.


Around 2 p.m. on Saturday, Ciera’s body washed ashore "in the immediate vicinity of the recent Hart family crash,” the sheriff’s office said in the statement. 

She was not immediately identified, and authorities were reluctant to link her to the crash at first.

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"The Sheriff's Office is investigating the possibility that the body may be one of the two missing Hart girls but identification will most likely be done through DNA analysis, a process that can take several weeks,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement before the identification was made.

The remaining two Hart children, Devonte and Hannah, are still missing after Sarah and Jennifer Hart’s SUV plunged 150 feet off a cliff on Highway 1 on March 26. Authorities believe the bodies of Devonte and Hannah were swept into the Pacific Ocean after the crash. They are presumed dead.


All six of the Hart family members have been confirmed dead since the vehicle sped off the California highway at 90 mph without any signs of breaking. Jen and Sarah Hart, both 38, as well as their adopted kids, Markis, 19, Abigail, 14, and Jeremiah, 14, were found dead near the wreck.

According to NBC, authorities believe the vehicle was driven off the cliff intentionally by Jennifer, who was highly intoxicated. 

"I'm to the point where I no longer am calling this an accident; I'm calling it a crime," Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman told HLN's Crime & Justice with Ashleigh Banfield on Wednesday.

RELATED: New Details About Why Police Believe Some Of The Hart Children Who Are Still Missing Might Be Alive

Jennifer Hart had a blood point alcohol level of 0.102 percent, well over California’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.

A “significant amount” of diphenhydramine, an active ingredient in Benadryl that can cause drowsiness, were found Sarah and two of the Hart children’s systems. The toxicology reports for the third child and Ciera have not been released yet, The Washington Post reports.

No one in the vehicle was wearing seatbelts when they died.

The Harts, who lived in Washington, traveled to California just days after child services began investigating the mothers for “alleged abuse or neglect.” Court documents and concerned neighbors have given officials some insight into the lives of the children with their adoptive mothers.

A motive for the possibly intentional crash has not been released and authorities have not found any suicide notes left by Sarah or Jen.

Officials are still searching for the two missing Hart children, though the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that there were no other signs of them.

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