California woman who drove family off cliff was drunk: sheriff

Sergio Conner
April 17, 2018

The vehicle itself and the four members of the Thottapilly family have not been recovered from the Eel River, which remains too risky for divers to enter, but searchers along the banks located numerous items consistent with a Honda vehicle and interior, and items consistent with a family traveling on vacation, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

"Preliminary results showed Jennifer Hart had a.102 BAC (blood alcohol content)", the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Friday.

A vehicle owned by the couple-Sarah and Jennifer Hart, both 38 - was found at the bottom of a cliff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean in California's Mendocino County on March 26.

In California, a person is legally drunk if they have a BAC of.08 or higher.

Toxicology tests also found that her wife, Sarah - and two of their adopted children had "a significant amount" of an ingredient commonly found in the allergy drug benadryl.

Carpenter said none of the car's occupants was wearing a seatbelt.

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"We believe that the Hart incident was in fact intentional", he said. But investigators are still trying to determine why they stopped in Naselle, which added an hour and a half to their road trip, and whether they contacted anyone.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said an autopsy will be conducted Tuesday on a body found today that is assumed to be a member of the Thottapilly family that went missing last week ahead of a stop in San Jose. Hannah, 16; Devonte, 15; and Sierra, 12, have not been found.

Though identification of the body is yet to be done, officials suspect it could be of one of the members of the missing Indian family.

A neighbor of the Harts in Woodland had filed a complaint, saying the children were apparently being deprived of food as punishment.

The family was officially reported as missing to the San Jose Police Department on April 8.

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