Family’s SUV cliff plunge may have been intentional, police say

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A family SUV found at the bottom of a California cliff last week may have been deliberately driven off the road, police told media Sunday.

The bodies of Jennifer and Sarah Hart, both 38, were discovered inside their overturned SUV near a remote stretch of Highway 1 in Northern California last Monday. Emergency responders found the bodies of three of their six children — Markis, 19, and Jeremiah and Abigail, both 14, — outside the car.

Their other children — Hannah, 16, Devonte, 15, and Sierra, 12 — are missing. Nobody reported seeing the crash, so authorities don’t know exactly when or how it happened and it is unclear whether the three missing children were in the SUV when it fell 100 feet into the sea.

Police said Sunday that preliminary information suggested the car may have been intentionally driven straight off the edge of the cliff.

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, Greg Baarts, the Acting Assistant Chief, CHP Northern Division said.

“At this point in our investigation that is the direction we are going,” Baarts said.

Preliminary data from the car suggested that there had been approximately 70 feet of continuous acceleration from the last moment the brakes were applied before the SUV went over the edge of the road and hit the ocean floor, Baarts said.

There was also no evidence to suggest the car had been driving at an angle when it left the road, he said.

Baarts stressed that investigators were still verifying the information but that authorities believed that a felony had been committed.

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 and said there had been some red flags raised.

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