Skeletal remains identified as Hart family member
With help from the biological mother of three victims, California authorities recently took another step toward closing the case of the former West Linn Hart family.
On Wednesday, a press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office announced that human remains found on a beach last May were positively identified as belonging to 16-year-old Hannah Hart, who had been missing but presumed dead since her family's SUV plunged off a cliff into the ocean near Westport, California in March 2018.
Parents Jennifer and Sarah Hart, both 39, and three of their adopted children — 19-year old Markis Hart, 14-year-old Jeremiah Hart and 14-year-old Abigail Hart — were found dead at the scene of the crash. The body of another girl, 12-year-old Ciera Hart, was later found in the ocean; 15-year-old Devonte Hart and Hannah Hart remained officially listed as missing throughout the rest of the year.
It was believed that the driver, Jennifer Hart, drove off the cliff intentionally.
When partial human remains were found on a beach inside a shoe attached to a pair of jeans, authorities attempted to identify them through DNA testing. In June, however, those tests came back inconclusive.
"The DOJ LAB personnel requested additional samples from known family members so additional testing could be conducted," the press release stated.
Those new samples eventually came in October from a Mobile, Alabama woman who said she was the mother of Markis, Abigail and Hannah Hart. The test results came back Jan. 8 and showed a positive identification for Hannah Hart.
Devonte Hart is now the only family member who is unaccounted for.
"The most likely scenario is that he too perished in this incident but the case remains open and active," the press release said. "The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is poised to follow up any viable investigative lead but has not received any indication of Devonte being located elsewhere."