Authorities are still trying to piece together what happened when an SUV packed with a family of eight drove off a California cliff last weekend. The bodies of two women and their three adopted children were found in the car, which was discovered Monday. Their three other adopted children are missing and presumed dead.
As the Associated Press reports, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman told reporters that there are still a lot of unknowns about the crash.
“Several of the questions that have been asked today will never be answered,” he said.
The search is still on for Hannah Hart, 16, Sierra Hart, 12, and Devonte Hart, 15, who were believed to have been in the SUV with their parents, Sarah and Jennifer Hart, and three other siblings. The bodies of Markis Hart, 19, Jeremiah Hart, 14, and Abigail Hart, 14, were recovered outside the car.
At this point, authorities say that they have no reason to believe the car crash was intentional, but are still looking deeper into the family’s history and home life to reconstruct what happened leading up to the crash.
Among the more disturbing details, however, is that shortly before the deadly crash, Devonte—whose tearful moment with a cop four years ago went viral—had gone over to a neighbor’s house almost every day for a week asking for food.
According to Dana DeKalb, who lives next door to the Harts in Woodland, Wash., Devonte told her that his parents were “punishing them by withholding food.” DeKalb said that the teen asked her to leave food in a box by the fence for him.
Concerned, DeKalb called child-protective services last Friday. A caseworker went to the Hart house but didn’t find anyone home, according to AP. Bruce DeKalb said that the family SUV was gone from the driveway by Saturday.
A spokesperson for the Department of Social and Health Services told AP that the agency had no prior history with the family. Back in 2011, Sarah Hart pleaded guilty to domestic assault in Minnesota; according to court records, Hart told authorities she “let her anger get out of control” while spanking her then-6-year-old daughter.