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Deadly family vehicle cliff wreck 'may have been intentional'


The California crash that killed a Washington married couple as well as at least three of their adopted children appears intentional, according to the California Highway Patrol.

New court documents in the case of a Woodland, Washington family's deadly vehicle crash reveal that their SUV was travelling at about 90 miles per hour when it went off the road.

Three other siblings: Hannah Hart, 16, Devonte Hart, 15, and Sierra Hart, 12, have not been found.

Now, the latest court documents in the case question whether the crash was accidental.

Police said they believe the auto was stopped by the side of the road before accelerating to as fast as 90mph over the cliff. According to the report, the documents to not state that the finding means conclusively that the SUV was traveling at that rate of speed when it plunged into the ocean.

Police said that preliminary information suggested the auto may have been intentionally driven straight off the edge of the cliff. "This is all based on preliminary information", Baarts said.

Devonte, who is African-American, was captured in a photo in 2014 in Portland, Oregon, hugging a white police officer during protests over the police shooting of a black man in Ferguson, Missouri.

Devonte, holding a "Free Hugs" sign, stood crying.

"At this time, three children are still missing and could be in the ocean", said Baarts. Emergency responders found the bodies of three of their six children - Markis, 19, and Jeremiah and Abigail, both 14 - outside the auto, which landed upside down on the rocky shoreline below the cliff.




"They transformed these kids lives", he told U.S. media.

CHP investigators are working with sheriff's officials in Mendocino County and Clark County, Washington, to trace the whereabouts of the family prior to the crash.

The neighbor, Bruce DeKalb, said a social worker visited the home but could not locate the family. By the next day, the family was gone.

Friends also said that the couple tried to keep their children insulated from death threats and hateful emails prompted by Devonte's viral picture.

Authorities in Washington state searched the family's home Thursday. The boy asked her to leave food in a box by the fence for him, she said.

KGW reports: "Baarts said items were retrieved from the home during the search, including computers, credit cards and bank statements". This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

"There are a lot of unknowns on this", Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said. "They transformed these kids' lives".

And earlier this month, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services opened a Child Protective Services investigation which identified the Hart children as "potential victims of alleged abuse or neglect".

CPS officials tried to contact the family on March 23, 26 and 27, according to spokeswoman Norah West.

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