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Woman's Body Found Near Where SUV Plunged Into River With Family

16 April 2018

Authorities say Jennifer Hart was drunk behind the wheel when a vehicle carrying her family crashed at the bottom of a cliff on the California Coast in March.

The Harts moved last spring to Woodland, Washington, telling their real-estate broker "they needed a fresh start" after experiencing prejudice in Minnesota and too much media attention in OR after one child was pictured in a viral photo taken at a 2014 police-brutality protest.

Last month, an SUV plunged into the Pacific Ocean roughly 30 miles south of where authorities are searching for the Honda Pilot.

The driver was pulling into a pullout during heavy rains when the SUV went over the edge, according to Sheriff's officials.

The vehicle was found on March 26 and investigators have said they believe the crash was intentional. The crash happened just days after authorities in Washington state opened an investigation following allegations the children were being neglected. The legal limit in California is.08%.

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. Toxicology results for a third child killed are still pending, Carpenter said.

"The teams were unsuccessful in locating the vehicle or any occupants from the vehicle".

Sarah and Jennifer Hart and their six adopted children were believed to be in the family's SUV when it plunged off a cliff in Mendocino County, more than 160 miles (250 kilometers) north of San Francisco.

"These items were of a personal nature and will not be described further at this time, but it does confirm the fact the vehicle that was seen going into the river was that of the Thottapilly family", the California Highway Patrol said. A specialized team of accident investigators is trying to figure that out with help from the FBI, Carpenter said.

"All this does is just start another part of the process that doesn't get us to a point of being able to grieve", she said.

Search crews Friday morning recovered a child's body from the Eel River, a week after a missing Southern California family's vehicle fell into its waters during an intense rainstorm.

Two more are missing and another body has been found but not identified.

Authorities received reports of child welfare concerns in three different states involving the Hart family prior to the family's fatal crash, records and interviews show.

However, their additional children - Devonte, 15, Hannah, 16, and Sierra, 1-2 - are all missing, officials stated.

Devonte, who captured the hearts of America in November 2014 when a photo of him hugging a police officer during a Ferguson-related rally in Portland went viral, told DeKalb and his wife that his parents withheld food as punishment.

Woman's Body Found Near Where SUV Plunged Into River With Family