A Northern California resident discovered a pair of jeans and human remains inside a girl’s shoe on a beach near the area where a woman and her family were killed after the SUV they were in drove off a California cliff in March, authorities said Thursday.
The remains were found Wednesday in Westport, Calif., and a crew was sent to the area to search. DNA tests will be conducted on the remains to try to identify who they belonged to, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said.
Sarah and Jennifer Hart and their six adopted children were believed to be in the family’s SUV when it plunged off a cliff in Mendocino County, more than 160 miles north of San Francisco. The location where the remains were found is about one mile north of where the SUV disappeared.
Authorities found the bodies of the couple, both of whom were 39 years old, and three of their children, Markis, 19, Jeremiah, 14, and Abigail, 14, on March 26. Last month, authorities identified a body pulled from the water as Ciera Hart, 12.
The other two children – Devonte, 15 and Hannah, 16 – have not been found. Authorities believe the entire family was in the vehicle when it crashed off a cliff and into the ocean.
Last month, authorities determined Jennifer Hart, who was driving the vehicle, had a 0.102 alcohol level, higher than the state’s legal limit. Her wife, as well as two of the couple’s six adopted children, were also found with “a significant amount” of an ingredient commonly found in Benadryl in their systems, according to tests. Officials said no one in the vehicle was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
Police have said that data from the vehicle's software suggested the crash was deliberate. They said the SUV had stopped at a coastal highway overlook before speeding straight off the cliff and plummeting 100 feet into the rocky Pacific Ocean below.
The crash occurred just days after authorities in Washington state opened an investigation looking into whether the children were neglected.
Fox News Elizabeth Zwirz and the Associated Press contributed to this report.