Authorities believe California cliff crash was 'intentional' -

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Monday, 2 April 2018

Authorities believe California cliff crash was 'intentional'

A police helicopter hovers over the cliff where a family careened over a cliff in their SUV and died. (CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL VIA AP)
The 100-foot plunge a family fatally took over a California cliff was intentional, authorities said Sunday night.
The GMC Yukon stopped along the roadside, about 70 feet from the cliff, before the driver gunned it over the edge, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The highway patrol made the stunning disclosure after analyzing the SUV's onboard computer and searching Jennifer and Sara Hart’s home in Woodland, Wash., for possible suicide notes.
An affidavit for a search warrant revealed the vehicle’s speedometer was pinned at 90 mph after the March 26 crash, according to court papers obtained by KPTV-TV.
Devonte Hart, one of the children feared dead in the crash, was photographed in 2014 during a Portland, Ore., protest. (JOHNNY HUU NGUYEN/AP)
It was not revealed who was driving the car, or whether both parents had agreed to the murder-suicide involving their adopted children.
Investigators had previously said they lacked evidence that the crash near Mendocino, Calif., was a deliberate act.
But they were suspicious because there were no skid or brake marks from the Yukon leading up to the cliff’s edge.
The Hart family attends a Bernie Sanders rally in Vancouver, Wash., in 2016. (TRISTAN FORTSCH/KATU NEWS VIA AP)
Sgt. Greg Baarts, of CHP's Northern Division, warned the speedometer may have been altered as the vehicle made impact on the rocky shore below. 
All of the couple’s six kids are believed to have been killed in the 26 crash, including a 15-year-old African-American boy whose tearful moment hugging a white police officer during a protest against police brutality went viral. Devonte Hart protested the Ferguson, Mo., police shooting death of Michael Brown in 2014.
The bodies of three children have not been located, officials said. The two women, both 38, were found dead inside the SUV. The bodies of three of their children — Markis Hart, 19; Jeremiah Hart, 14, and Abigail Hart, 14 — were discovered outside the vehicle.
This photo shows ruts cut into the clifftop after an SUV with Jennifer and Sarah Hart went off the cliff.(KALE WILLIAMS/THE OREGONIAN VIA AP)
Searchers were still looking for Devonte, Hannah Hart, 16, and Sierra Hart, 12, and said they may have been washed out to sea when the SUV plunged over a scenic coastal overlook and landed on rocks in the Pacific Ocean.
Before the crash, neighbors reported Devonte’s parents to the state Child Protection Services and accused them of abuse.
Bruce and Dana DeKalb, next-door neighbors of the Harts, said they called child protective services because Devonte had been coming over to their house almost every day for a week, asking for food.
Dana DeKalb said Devonte told her his parents were “punishing them by withholding food” and asked her to leave food in a box by the fence for him. She told The Oregonian newspaper that Devonte asked for things like tortillas and peanut butter and eventually was coming over three times a day.

- ny news 

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