Driver in Hart family cliff crash was drunk

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A woman who called OR child welfare officials in 2013 about a woman who last month drove off a California cliff with her family says the household was run "like a regimented boot camp".

Farther south along the Mendocino County coast, authorities continue to look for members of the Hart family, missing since an SUV made a deadly and possibly intentional plunge off a towering ocean bluff along the Pacific Coast Highway last month.

"'Yes, I'm upset. I'm afraid for my child", said Donisha Franklin, Heaven's mother.

She says the six kids were regularly punished for common childlike and adolescent behavior, such as laughing too loudly.


A "missing" poster shared by friends and family on Facebook identified the Thottapilly family members as 42-year-old Sandeep, 38-year-old Soumya, 12-year-old Siddhanty and 9-year-old Saachi.

Ukiah CHP Area Commander Bruce Carpenter also said that Sarah Hart's remains tested positive for "a significant amount" of diphenhydramine, an active ingredient found in the allergy medication Benadryl. Devonte Hart had made headlines years before the crash when a picture of him hugging a police officer during police-brutality protests went viral.

The family's demise in late March came just days after child welfare authorities in their home state of Washington opened an inquiry into allegations the children were being abused or neglected, according to police and social services agencies.

In addition to the insertion of Swift Water Rescue Teams to conduct a bank search, there was some limited "probing", a technique using a long pole being probed underwater to see if the vehicle or anything metallic could be located. Three other children are missing.


The 100-foot drop killed the women, both 39, and their children Markis Hart, 19; Jeremiah Hart, 14; and Abigail Hart, 14.

Carpenter said none of the car's occupants were wearing seatbelts. The authorities were hunting for one additional few children: Hannah Devonte, 15; along with Sierra.

That's the same area where a family of four that vanished during a road trip from Portland, Ore., to their home in Santa Clarita, Calif., is last known to have been, the San Jose Police Department told the Associated Press.

Sarah Hart reportedly also had diphenhydramine in her system.


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