As local law enforcement agencies have gone quiet on the investigation into the Hart family tragedy, an FBI spokesperson confirmed to CrimeOnline that federal investigators are involved in an active search for missing Devonte Hart and Hannah Hart.
FBI spokesperson Catherine Zackle confirmed on Tuesday that the agency is assisting the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office in a search for Devonte Hart, 15, and Hannah Hart, 16, who have been missing since late March. Devonte and Hannah’s adoptive mothers, Jennifer Hart and Sarah Hart, and four of their adopted children — Markis, Abigail, Jeremiah, and Sierra — were found dead after the family’s SUV went over a cliff in northern California on March 26. Jennifer Hart was behind the wheel, and authorities believe she drove the car over intentionally.
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office officials had previously told CrimeOnline that they believe all six Hart children were in the car when it went over a cliff along the Pacific Coast Highway, but as of April 6, local authorities had no physical evidence supporting this presumption. At that time, Mendocino County Sheriff Public Information Officer Captain Greg Van Patten said his department believed all of the children were in the vehicle because the family typically traveled together. He also said he believed that if any of the children were still alive, investigators would have been made aware of it.
“[Devonte Hart is] self-sufficient enough to communicate and reach out to others if they are in need,” Van Patten said earlier this month.
“We have received no information that any of the six children were not inside the Yukon,” Mendocino County Sheriff Thomas Allman said at the time. “I would love for someone to tell me otherwise.”
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has stopped responding to CrimeOnline‘s inquiries for further information. Zackle confirmed to CrimeOnline that the sheriff’s department is still the lead agency in the investigation, and that the FBI is assisting them. She said she could not provide any specifics about possible leads or the locations where a search is taking place.
“We are trying to find evidence one way or another” regarding whether the missing children were in the vehicle at the time of the crash, Zackle said.
“We are looking for them.”
— FBI Most Wanted (@FBIMostWanted) April 18, 2018
[Feature image: Thomas Boyd for The Oregonian via Associated Press]