Sheriff explains reasoning for Hart family inquest


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Deputies in Mendocino County, California explained their reasoning for requesting an investigation into the deaths of Sarah and Jennifer Hart and their 6 adopted children. 

Sheriff Thomas Allman said the deaths of 8 people in one single incident warranted the county’s first inquest in 50 years. 

Mendocino County Sheriff Thomas Allman explains why he ordered an inquest into the deaths of the 8 Harts, April 4, 2019. (KOIN)

According to Allman, there were several red flags in the other states the family had lived in leading up to the deadly March 26, 2018 crash. 

The sheriff said Sarah and Jennifer had been investigated for child abuse but weren’t properly vetted by the multiple states they moved to. It’s a flaw in the system that Allman said needs to be fixed. 

“We do not have a national database for child abuse allegations and the fact that there were 5 states involved — Texas, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, California — certainly should be an enlightening movement for our national legislators,” Allman said. 

Even though there is no one authorities can charge in the case, Allman hoped that the inquest will help prevent any similar tragedies from happening in the future and pave the way for corrections to a flawed system. 

“I’m not going to say if we had a national database that the Hart family would still be here,” said Allman. “But certainly there would’ve been more of an investigation to find out if the adoptions had been appropriate or if CPS should’ve been a little bit more involved.” 

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