5 Hart children so small they were not listed on growth charts

Five of the six children of Jennifer and Sarah Hart were so small in 2013 that they were not listed on growth charts, according to documents obtained by the Oregonian and other news outlets.

Child welfare officials in Oregon knew the family that plunged off a California cliff last month in their SUV had been investigated when they lived in Minnesota, but were "unable to determine" whether there was abuse in the home.

"There is insufficient data to conclude that there is reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect occurred," Oregon officials found.

The fatal crash took place just days after authorities in Washington state opened their own investigation following allegations the children were being neglected. The family had moved there last year from Oregon.

Records obtained by news outlets, including KOIN in Oregon, found that child welfare investigators first tried to contact the family on July 19, 2013.

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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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They didn't find anyone at home and left a card asking the family to contact a caseworker. Sarah Hart later responded, saying the family was soon going out of town. She denied that the children were undernourished.

Two people contacted by investigators expressed concern that the Harts limited food for the six children and said the the kids were forced to lie on the ground in a dark room for hours at a time.

Teachers stopped telling the Harts that their kids took food to school in order to keep them from being punished.

A family friend said Jennifer coached the kids to act a certain way, according to the findings obtained by KATU. In addition, the children were "made to look like one big happy family, but after the photo they go back to looking lifeless."

Growth charts showed all but one of the children were below the chart for height and weight, though the doctor said there were no concerns for any of the kids, because there were no records of their previous sizes.

At one point a social worker said that 6-year-old Abigail was the size of a 2-year-old girl, according to the Oregonian.

Investigators say Jennifer Hart was drunk when she drove the large family off a Northern California cliff, and they believe the crash was intentional.

Jennifer Hart's wife and several of the children had large amounts of a drug in their systems that can cause drowsiness.

With News Wire Services

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