Spouse and children famed for protest image die when SUV goes off cliff


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A spouse and children that acquired awareness for an emotional photograph of an African-American boy hugging a white law enforcement officer at a 2014 protest was killed when their SUV plunged off a scenic California freeway, authorities stated Wednesday as they questioned for assist figuring out what happened.

“We have each and every sign to consider that all six young children have been in there,” Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman stated, captivating for ideas to retrace in which the siblings and two mother and father had been in advance of the automobile was uncovered Monday in rocky ocean. “We know that an total family vanished and perished for the duration of this tragedy.”

Some close friends described married few Jennifer and Sarah Hart as loving parents who took their adopted kids to Bernie Sanders rallies, when some neighbors explained they termed baby welfare officials in their rural Washington point out neighborhood in excess of fears about attainable abuse or had discovered red flags.

The California Highway Patrol has not identified why the auto went off an ocean overlook on a rugged portion of coastline. A specialised crew of accident investigators was making an attempt to figure that out, Allman mentioned.

“There ended up no skid marks, there ended up no brake marks” at the turnout on the Pacific Coastline Highway the place the car or truck went in excess of, the sheriff mentioned. Investigators have no explanation to imagine the crash was intentional, he stated.

The 100-foot (31-meter) fall killed the women of all ages, the two 39, and their youngsters Markis Hart, 19 Jeremiah Hart, 14 and Abigail Hart, 14. Hannah Hart, 16 Devonte Hart, 15 and Sierra Hart, 12, have not been found.

The Harts lived in Woodland, Washington, a tiny city outside Portland, Oregon, and had a new pay a visit to from Baby Protective escort expert services in Washington DC, Clark County sheriff’s Sgt. Brent Waddell told The Affiliated Press.

He explained the sheriff’s place of work later on entered the residence and located no clear symptoms of difficulties or violence. It appeared the household planned a brief journey because they left driving a pet, chickens and most of their belongings.

Up coming-doorway neighbors Bruce and Dana DeKalb claimed they referred to as boy or girl escort products and services in Washington DC Friday because they had been anxious that Devonte Hart, who hugged the officer at the protest, was heading hungry. They claimed he experienced been coming in excess of to their household much too frequently in the previous 7 days asking for food.

The DeKalbs also recounted that a few months right after the family members moved into the property on 2 acres with a fenced pasture in May possibly 2017, 1 of the ladies rang their doorbell at 1:30 a.m.

She “was at our door in a blanket indicating we essential to protect her,” Bruce DeKalb explained. “She stated that they were abusing her. It haunted my spouse given that that day.”

In 2011, Sarah Hart pleaded responsible to a domestic assault demand in Minnesota. Her plea led to the dismissal of a charge of malicious punishment of a youngster, online court docket records say.

Invoice Groener, 67, was a next-doorway neighbor of the family members when they lived in West Linn, Oregon, and explained the children were house-schooled.

“They stayed indoors most of the time, even in truly good weather conditions,” Groener reported.

He claimed the household did not consume sugar, lifted their have vegetables, experienced animals and went on camping outings.

“There was enough favourable there to form of counteract the sensation that something probably was not rather correct,” Groener explained.

He claimed they were being neighbors for about two years and that “privacy was a major thing for them.”

The relatives obtained awareness immediately after Devonte Hart was photographed through a 2014 protest in Portland, Oregon, in excess of a grand jury’s conclusion not to indict a police officer in the taking pictures of a black guy in Ferguson, Missouri.

The boy, keeping a “Cost-free Hugs” sign, stood crying. A Portland officer noticed his indicator and asked if he could have a hug, and an psychological Hart embraced him in a photograph that was extensively shared.

At the time, Jennifer Hart wrote on social media: “My son has a coronary heart of gold, compassion outside of everything I have ever experienced, nevertheless struggles with dwelling fearlessly when it comes to the law enforcement. … He miracles if someday when he no for a longer period wears a ‘Free Hugs’ indication all over his neck, when he is a total-grown black male, if his lifetime will be in threat for simply currently being.”

The spouse and children traveled to numerous festivals during the spot — together with situations for presidential applicant Bernie Sanders — and have been recognized for wearing matching T-shirts.

Zippy Lomax, a Portland photographer who understood the Harts, informed the Oregonian/Oregonlive.com that the reaction to the 2014 picture overwhelmed them, with unfavorable focus focused on the multiracial household with lesbian mother and father.

“They form of closed off for a while, truthfully,” Lomax instructed the newspaper. But she added that “Jen and Sarah have been the variety of mothers and fathers this world desperately needs.”


This story has been corrected to replicate the accurate spelling of Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman’s very last name.


James described from Woodland, Washington. AP reporter Steven Dubois in Portland, Oregon, and Phuong Le in Seattle also contributed.


Loved ones famed for protest photograph die when SUV goes off cliff