Hart family mother seen on surveillance day before California cliff crash

The search continued Wednesday for three missing children of the family whose car plunged off a California cliff last week, as investigators came closer to piecing together a timeline of their final days.

The California Highway Patrol released a surveillance image from a Safeway in Fort Bragg taken March 25 — a day before the Hart family's SUV was found crashed at the bottom of a rocky shoreline about 15 miles to the north.

Authorities have said no skid marks were found at the top of the dirt turnout where the GMC Yukon pulled off, and believe the crash may have been intentional.

Hart family and the California cliff crash investigation

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Hart family and the California cliff crash investigation
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Hart family and the California cliff crash investigation

MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA. – The California Highway Patrol (CHP), in conjunction with Sheriff Thomas Allman, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, and other allied agency partners throughout Washington and Oregon is continuing an active search for missing children, Hannah Hart, age 16, Devonte Hart, age 15, and Sierra Hart, age 12.

Based upon the investigation to date, it is believed the Hart family was in or around the Newport, Oregon area around 8:15am on Saturday morning, March 24, 2018. It is believed they continued south along US 101 until they reached State Route 1 in Legget, California. The family traveled south along State Route 1 until they reached the Fort Bragg area in Mendocino County around 8:00pm on Saturday evening, March 24, 2018. The family remained in the Fort Bragg, Cleone areas until approximately 9:00pm on Sunday evening, March 25, 2018. (The below map provided is the approximate route of travel.) There is no further information at this time regarding the whereabouts of the Hart Family immediately preceding the incident.

03/25/2018 at 8:05am, Jennifer Hart at the Safeway in Fort Bragg Ca. (see Photo)
Anyone with known information pertaining to the families route of travel, places where they stopped, may have come into contact with or have any information regarding the Hart Family are asked to call the California Highway Patrol – Ukiah Area office at (707) 467-4000 or the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 463-4086.

(Photo: CHP Ukiah)
The terrain is especially rugged along this section of the Mendocino coastline. We greatly appreciate the help of… https://t.co/zCZFqHqxBq
The search for the remaining 3 members of the #HartFamily continues https://t.co/1dujCrAii9
Thank you to all the agencies, staff (both paid and volunteer) for helping in today's efforts on the Mendocino Coas… https://t.co/tFqpveFyPi

MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA. – The California Highway Patrol (CHP), in conjunction with Sheriff Thomas Allman, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, and other allied agency partners throughout Washington and Oregon is continuing an active search for missing children, Hannah Hart, age 16, Devonte Hart, age 15, and Sierra Hart, age 12.

Based upon the investigation to date, it is believed the Hart family was in or around the Newport, Oregon area around 8:15am on Saturday morning, March 24, 2018. It is believed they continued south along US 101 until they reached State Route 1 in Legget, California. The family traveled south along State Route 1 until they reached the Fort Bragg area in Mendocino County around 8:00pm on Saturday evening, March 24, 2018. The family remained in the Fort Bragg, Cleone areas until approximately 9:00pm on Sunday evening, March 25, 2018. (The below map provided is the approximate route of travel.) There is no further information at this time regarding the whereabouts of the Hart Family immediately preceding the incident.

The family was traveling in a 2003 GMC Yukon LX with black rims. Similar to this vehicle in this photo (Not actual vehicle). 

Anyone with known information pertaining to the families route of travel, places where they stopped, may have come into contact with or have any information regarding the Hart Family are asked to call the California Highway Patrol – Ukiah Area office at (707) 467-4000 or the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 463-4086.

(Photo: CHP Ukiah)
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office posted on social media thanking a number of agencies for helping in the search efforts for the three Hart children

(Photo: Mendocino County Sheriff's Office)

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office posted on social media thanking a number of agencies for helping in the search efforts for the three Hart children

(Photo: Mendocino County Sheriff's Office)

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office posted on social media thanking a number of agencies for helping in the search efforts for the three Hart children

(Photo: Mendocino County Sheriff's Office)

NOW: Search & Rescue teams are looking in between large rocks along the Mendocino County shoreline for any sign of… https://t.co/oaR7w3VxI8
I talked to a close friend of the Hart family. She said the family was loving and she thinks they may have misjudge… https://t.co/aEsAc7bgEP
A close friend of the Hart family tells me there was nothing but love in their home. Also says all six of the kids… https://t.co/Fs5D88uiH0
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The surveillance photo shows mom Jennifer Hart, 38, purchasing bananas and other groceries. It's unclear where her wife, Sarah, also 38, and their six adopted children were at the time.

The CHP said in a news release it was analyzing the store's footage with FBI agents in an attempt to enhance the blurry viewing quality.

The investigation has included interviewing neighbors and searching the family's home in Woodland, Washington, about 25 miles north of Portland, Oregon.

Based on the surveillance footage as well as cellphone pings, police have come up with the family's travel itinerary: They were south of Portland at around 8:15 a.m. local time on March 24, then continued moving south along a coastal route, crossing into Northern California. By 8 p.m., they were in the Fort Bragg area.

They remained there until about 9 p.m. the next day. At some point, they decided to venture north along Highway 1. And on March 26, just after 3:30 p.m., a passerby called police about an upside down SUV that had fallen 70 feet to the embankment below.

Crews arrived at the scene and retrieved the bodies of Jennifer and Sarah, as well as three of their children, Markis, 19, Jeremiah, 14, and Abigail, 14.

Three other children — Devonte, 15, Hannah, 16, and Sierra, 12 — have not been found but are tentatively presumed dead. While more than 70 members of a search crew set off Wednesday morning to find evidence of the missing siblings near the crash site, police have not ruled out that the children could be elsewhere.

"As of this date it is still unclear if the missing children were inside the vehicle during the incident," the CHP said.

Devonte gained national attention in 2014 in a photograph of him hugging a white police officer.

Investigators, meanwhile, have provided no motive for why the Harts would have intentionally driven off the cliff.

The CHP on Sunday confirmed reports that the car's speedometer was at 90 mph at the time of the crash, but warned it could have moved during impact or was accidentally manipulated during the investigation.

Just before leaving Washington, the parents were also under investigation by authorities concerned that the children were potential victims of alleged abuse or neglect.

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