Oregon

Possible relatives of Hannah Hart come forward

Remains found near Hart family crash site near California cliff

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office says people claiming to be biological relatives of Hannah Hart have come forward to help identify remains found in May. 

Hannah and Devonte Hart have been missing since their family’s SUV was found crashed off a northern California cliff in March. Their mothers, Jennifer and Sarah Hart, and their four siblings, Jeremiah, Abigail, Ciera, and Markis, died in the crash. A toxicology report for Jennifer, who was driving the GMC Yukon, revealed a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.

The Mendocino sheriff has said that the crash is being investigated as a crime. 

Lt. Shannon Barney said the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of trying to verify the identity of the relatives who have reached out, including a woman claiming to be the biological mother of Hannah, Markis, and Abigail Hart. All six Hart children were adopted by Jennifer and Sarah Hart from the state of Texas. 

Barney said the sheriff’s office is reaching out to law enforcement officials in the jurisdiction where the relatives are located to see if they can assist in obtaining a sample and shipping it to California for DNA testing. 

“They do seem willing to cooperate – they have offered to assist in any way they can,” Barney told KOIN 6 News by phone Wednesday.

Photos: Inside the Hart Family Home

 

A local Mendocino county resident found the remains – a foot inside a shoe – and brought it to the attention of a Hart family friend from Minnesota, who had stayed in the Mendocino area to search the beach. Barney has said that California Highway Patrol officers were then alerted to the evidence. 

Initial DNA tests conducted on the remains proved to be inconclusive. Information on biological relatives of Hannah, Markis, and Abigail, who were siblings adopted together, was scarce. Barney said the sheriff’s office had been trying to work through the Texas adoption courts to unseal the children’s records, with the intention of locating blood relatives. 

Authorities searched the coastline and the Pacific Ocean near the crash site for weeks following the crash. Ciera, who was not initially found inside or near the vehicle, was located nearly two weeks after the crash. The remains on the beach, believed to be Hannah Hart, were discovered on May 9. Devonte is still missing.


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