Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office: DNA confirms body found in surf a missing Hart child

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DNA analysis confirmed the body of a missing Hart child found in the surf April 7 belonged to 12-year-old Ciera Hart, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

The Sheriff’s Office had initially identified the missing person from Woodland, Washington, as 15-year-old Sierra Hart.

Hart’s body was found nearly two weeks after her mother, Jennifer Hart, 38, intentionally drove off a 100-foot cliff 20 miles north of Fort Bragg with her wife and children. Their 2003 GMC Yukon XL was spotted upside down on the rocky shoreline by a passerby March 26.

Jennifer and Sarah Hart, both 38, were found dead inside the SUV, the Sheriff’s Office said. The bodies of three children — Markis Hart, 19, Jeremiah Hart, 14, and Abigail Hart, 14 — were recovered outside of the vehicle.

Toxicology tests found Jennifer Hart had a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.102 percent at the time she plunged from a gravel turnout traveling south on Highway 1, the Sheriff’s Office said. The legal blood-alcohol limit is 0.08 percent.

The active ingredient in Benadryl, diphenhydramine, was discovered in the bodies of Sarah Hart, and two of the couple’s three children recovered on the scene, the Sheriff’s Office said. Diphenhydramine, an antihistamine used to treat allergies, also is a sedative.

Devonte Hart, 15, and Hannah Hart, 16, are still missing and are believed to have been inside the SUV when it went over the cliff, the Sheriff’s Office said.

You can reach Staff Writer Nick Rahaim at 707-521-5203 or nick.rahaim@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @nrahaim.

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