PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The biological mother of Devonte, Jeremiah and Sierra Hart learned Wednesday what had become of the children who were adopted out of state in 2009.

The mother, who KOIN 6 News is choosing not identify by name at this point, is “taking it hard,” according to her husband, who was reached at home on Thursday evening. 

Texas's child welfare agency initially gave custody of the children to their biological aunt, Priscilla Celestine. The children were then removed from Celestine's home when it was discovered that the children's biological mother had visited them.

“The way they went about moving the kids from here was wrong – they never should have been moved away from Texas,” the husband said. 

The couple learned of the children’s fate Wednesday from their aunt Priscilla Celestine, who fought for custody of Devonte, Jeremiah, and Sierra before they were adopted by Jennifer and Sarah Hart in 2009. Jeremiah’s body was found the day the Harts’ car was discovered crashed off a northern California cliff on March 26. Devonte and Sierra have not been found, but investigators presume both to be dead. 

An attorney for the children’s aunt told KOIN 6 News that the decision to remove the kids from Celestine’s custody was an “injustice” – so much so that she held on to the records for much longer than is customary.

The children were taken from Celestine after being in her care for five and a half months. The reason for the removal was that the kids saw their biological mother – a visit that was not approved by the family’s caseworker. In a 2010 appeal, Celestine argued that she was not home at the time of the visit; it was her daughter who had overseen the meeting.

Complete coverage of the Hart family