Boy in viral Ferguson photo missing after car crash killed family
The boy captured in a viral photo hugging a police officer during Black Lives Matter protests has gone missing after his family's car careened off a highway.
Devonte Hart, 15, had been carrying a “free hugs” sign before he was seen with the Portland, Ore., officer in November 2014, as outrage over the lack of charges in Ferguson, Mo., spread across the country.
Hart, along with his siblings 16-year-old Hannah Hart and 12-year-old Sierra Hart, are now missing after their family's car fell from a cliff in Northern California near Mendocino.
Mendocino County Sheriff officials say they do not know what caused the crash, which left no skid marks when killed three other siblings and Devonte's parents Jennifer and Sarah.
The couple who lived in Washington state had adopted six children, and it is believed that all of them could have been in the SUV when it went off the road next to the Pacific Ocean.
“We know that an entire family perished during this tragedy,” Sheriff Tom Allman said Wednesday, though officials also held out hope that the three missing children had been staying with friends.
Police have appealed for any help in finding Hannah, Sierra and Devonte, whose image was shared by freelance photographer Johnny Nguyen after the officer asked if he could "get one" of the hugs.
Portland photographer Zippy Lomax, a friend of the family, told The Oregonian that the couple "were the kinds of parents this world desperately needs" but they became overwhelmed by negative attention from those who expressed hate for their lesbian marriage and multiracial family.
The children went to Bernie Sanders rallies, were homeschooled, did not eat sugar and raised their own vegetables, according to those who knew them.
Their current neighbors said that they called child services on Friday because Devonte had been coming over to their home asking for food, though deputies in Clark County said they had not found any signs of trouble.
Their belongings and their pet were still at their home in Woodland, Wash., according to the Associated Press, suggesting that their visit into California was only for a short trip.
With News Wire Services