Human foot found near site of California SUV cliff crash

May 10 (Reuters) - California authorities have found a skeletal human foot near where six children are believed to have died when their mother is thought to have deliberately driven their vehicle off a cliff in March, officials said on Thursday.

An area resident alerted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday after finding a pair of girl's jean pants with a shoe entangled inside one leg on a Pacific Ocean beach, the law enforcement agency said.

"Upon inspection, it was determined skeletal remains of what appeared to be a human foot was inside of the shoe," it said in a statement.

The shoe - described as a 3.5 U.S. "big kid" size or 5.5 women's U.S. size - and the foot have been sent to a coroner. State forensics experts are being asked to identify the remains through DNA analysis, and the beach area was being searched on Thursday, the statement said.

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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 foot was found about a mile north of where six black children are thought to have died when their adoptive white mother, Jennifer Hart, 38, of Woodland, Washington, drove their sport-utility vehicle off a seaside cliff.

Her wife, Sarah Hart, 38, who was also white, died in the crash about 200 miles (320 km) north of San Francisco. It was discovered by a motorist on March 26.

Two of the children - Devonte Hart, 15, and Hannah Hart, 16 - are still missing. The children who have been confirmed dead ranged in age from 12 to 19.

Devonte Hart gained international attention in 2014 when he was photographed hugging a white police officer at a rally to protest the shooting of a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

Jennifer Hart is thought to have driven the car off the cliff three days after child protective services in Washington state opened an investigation into allegations she and her partner potentially neglected or abused the children.

Three children have tested positive for an ingredient commonly found in the allergy drug Benadryl, which can make people sleepy, the sheriff's statement said, without giving further details. One child had no toxicological finding.

A police autopsy has shown that Jennifer Hart was legally drunk at the time of the crash.

Authorities have said Sarah Hart also tested positive for the Benadryl ingredient.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington)

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