MENDOCINO Co., 4/17/18 -- The body that washed ashore April 7, in the vicinity of where Hart family crashed, has been identified as 12 year old Ciera Hart. Ciera is the fourth adopted child of Jennifer and Sarah Hart to be found deceased since Jennifer Hart drove their vehicle off a cliff, north of Westport on Hwy. 1. It is now known that Hart was intoxicated and that the other family members had a sedative in their blood at the time of the crash, and it is strongly suspected that the crash was intentional.
Two other children, Devonte Hart, 15, and Hannah Hart, 16, remain missing. Investigators believe all of the Hart's adopted children were likely in the vehicle. The Mendocino County Coroner's Office also determined that Ciera was 12 years old, not 15 years, as previously believed.
The Hart family's crash remains under investigation as a criminal act. So far, authorities have recovered the following members of the family:
Jennifer Hart, 38, Sarah Hart, 38, and their adopted children: Markis, 19, Jeremiah, 14, Abigail, 14, and Ciera, 12.
Here's our last story on the Harts, and all of our previous coverage:
And here is the relevant section of the press release. Due to MCSO's style of adding new information to the original press release, the full press release has become excessively long to repost, so we are just including the new developments section:
UPDATED PRESS RELEASE 04-17-2018:
On 04-07-2018 the body of what appeared to be an African American Female was recovered in the Pacific Ocean surf in the area of Juan Creek and Highway 1 in Westport, California.
Due to the condition of the body the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Division enlisted the assistance of the California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services Richmond DNA laboratory in identifying the body.
On 04-17-2018 the Coroner's Division was notified the Richmond DNA laboratory identified the body from DNA analysis as being Ciera Hart, a missing member of the Hart family.
Through an ongoing examination of legal documents the Coroner's Division was able to determine her legal first name to be spelled "Ciera" and not Sierra as previously released. The Coroner's Division was also able to determine Ciera's legal age as being 12 years-old at the time of the incident as opposed to 15 years-old which was also previously released.
The autopsy results including BA/Toxicology analysis for Ciera is pending at this time.
Future press releases will only be disseminated when significant developments occur or when large scale Search & Rescue Operations are scheduled. The daily press release will be discontinued after today.
Ongoing updates/photos will also be posted on the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office facebook page as information becomes available (https://www.facebook.com/
Due to the massive media attention related to this incident the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has been receiving an overwhelming amount of telephone calls and emails. The massive number of inquires for information is hampering the routine daily operations of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.
In an attempt to resolve this situation the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will be sending out an electronic written press release each day at 9:00 AMhighlighting information from the previous day's investigative work.
All telephone call and email inquires will be referred directly to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office press release page on our website.
Anyone wishing to subscribe to the Sheriff's Office automated press release notification system can do so by visiting www.mendocinosheriff.com and by accessing the press release page on the website.
Captain Gregory L. Van Patten #1184
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