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Posted: April 02, 2018

SUV plunge off California cliff may have been intentional, police say

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Three Children Missing In Crash That Killed Five Others

By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Police said the SUV found at the bottom of a California cliff may have been intentionally driven off the road, CNN reported.

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The family of eight from Washington state had been driving along the Mendocino Coast. The bodies of Jennifer and Sarah Hart were discovered inside the overturned GMC Yukon in northern California on March 26. The bodies of three of the children in the vehicle -- Markis, 19, and Jeremiah and Abigail, both 14 -- were found outside the car, which landed upside down on the shoreline below the cliff, CNN reported..

Three other children -- Hannah, 16, Devonte, 15, and Sierra, 12 -- are missing, police said. 

Police said preliminary information suggested the vehicle may have been intentionally driven off the edge of the cliff.

According to Greg Baarts, acting assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol’s Northern Division, data from the vehicle's air bag module and software indicated that the car had stopped at the pull-out and then accelerated off the road.

>> Three children still missing in crash

"At this point in our investigation, that is the direction we are going," Baarts told CNN.

Baarts said that while investigators are still verifying that information, they believe a felony had been committed in the crash, CNN reported.

He denied rumors that a suicide note had been found at the Harts' Washington house but said investigators were still evaluating some items found at the residence.

Devonte, who is black, earned national attention when a photo of him at age 12 went viral. In the image, the teary-eyed boy embraces a white officer in the middle of a demonstration in Portland, Oregon, related to the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Devonte had been holding a sign offering "Free Hugs."


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