Mother Who Drove Family of 8 Off Cliff Was Drunk

Sergio Conner
April 15, 2018

Authorities confirmed that a woman who drove her SUV off a cliff in Mendocino County, California, that killed her wife, three of her children, and herself was drunk.

Two of the Hart children whose bodies have been recovered also had diphenhydramine in their system.

The Mendocino County Coroner's office recovered the body on Friday about seven miles south of where the SUV was seen entering the rain-swollen river.

A woman who called OR child welfare officials in 2013 about a woman who last month drove off a California cliff with her family says the household was run "like a regimented boot camp". The legal limit for driving in California is 0.08. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that has a sedative effect.

Authorities searching for a family whose SUV plunged into a Northern California river have found the body of a woman.

Investigators began to examine the possibility that the disappearance might be linked to a report that the highway patrol received on April 6 of a vehicle plummeting into the Eel River from US 101, a north-south highway that runs through Washington State, Oregon and California.

The family's demise in late March came just days after child welfare authorities in their home state of Washington opened an inquiry into allegations the children were being abused or neglected, according to police and social services agencies.

A body that may be one of the remaining three missing children was recovered on April 7.

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Only weeks after the Hart spouse and children perished in a deadly dip in a sea over look along the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California, rescuers were also looking for another family feared to have driven in to water in the same county.

But their three other children - Devonte, 15, Hannah, 16, and Sierra, 12 - are missing, officials said.

"Several items have been positively identified, by family members, as belonging to the Thottapilly family", it said.

The Harts moved to a home in Woodland, Washington, in mid-2017, neighbors said.

The remains of Jennifer and Sarah Margaret Hart, both 38, and three of the children were found in the wreckage of a GMC Yukon after it ran off California Highway 1 and plunged over a steep embankment onto the rocky shoreline below. Were the children purposely drugged and did the parents know they were on suicide mission when they headed out for the "road trip".

In the latest case, the Thottapilly family had taken a road trip from their home in Santa Clarita, Calif., to OR for spring break.

But they never made it, and it was the last anyone heard from them, the police said.

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