Photo: Thomas Boyd / Associated Press
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More details about the tragic deaths of the Hart family, who were apparently intentionally driven off a Mendocino cliff by one of the mothers, have emerged at a coroner’s inquest.
The inquest is being held in Willits, Calif., regarding the deaths of the six adopted Hart siblings, Markis, 19, Hannah, 16, Devonte, 15, Jeremiah, 14, Abigail, 14, and Sierra, 12, and their parents, Jennifer and Sarah. Investigators are operating with the belief that Jennifer intentionally drove their GMC Yukon off the coastal highway near Fort Bragg in March 2018. But with all occupants of the vehicle now dead, an inquest has been called to determine the cause of death (accidental, a murder-suicide or undetermined) for each person.
On Thursday, testimony heard by the jury of eight men and six women included data pulled from the Yukon’s Garmin GPS and Google searches made by Sarah Hart.
California Highway Patrol Officer Jay Slates testified the GPS data indicated the family stopped at a Walmart, where Jennifer Hart purchased Walmart’s generic brand of Benadryl, both in liquid and pill forms. Toxicology reports indicate Sarah, who was not the driver, had at least 42 doses of the medication in her system before the crash.
The children also had anywhere from nine to 19 doses of the generic Benadryl in their bodies, according to toxicology reports.
Those reports also indicated Jennifer had a blood alcohol level of .102; the legal limit is .08. Slates testified that would be the equivalent of five beers.
In addition, a series of disturbing Google searches was presented at the inquest. Slates testified investigators found a series of searches on Sarah’s phone including “can 500 mgs of Benadryl kill a 120-pound woman?” and “is death by drowning relatively painless?”
She also searched no-kill shelters for dogs, perhaps indicating she was planning on dropping off the family dogs at a shelter before the couple’s plan went into action.
According to Oregonian reporter Molly Young, who attended the inquest, two case investigators concluded Jennifer and Sarah Hart planned to commit suicide together and murder their children in the process.
The jury will now deliberate on cause of death for each individual.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/jennifer-sarah-hart-family-suv-cliff-deaths-13742739.php.