Body Recovered Near Cliff Crash Site in California - NBC4 Washington
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Body Recovered Near Cliff Crash Site in California

Mystery continues to surround Mendocino County as two children remain unaccounted for following a car accident on HWY. 1 that killed their parents and three siblings on March 26

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    Body Recovered in Mendocino County

    A female body was found near the recent Hart family crash in Mendocino County Saturday afternoon.

    (Published Saturday, April 7, 2018)

    The body found near the Hart family crash in Mendocino County on April 7 is confirmed to be that of Ciera Hart, a missing member of the Hart family.

    The California Highway Patrol received a call around 2 p.m. about a reported female body in the surf of the Pacific Ocean at Juan Creek and HWY. 1 in Westport.

    Upon arrival, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office conducted a coroner's investigation and the body appeared to be that of one of the missing Hart children, though it had not been confirmed until Tuesday.

    The California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services Richmond identified the body from DNA analysis as being 12-year-old Ciera.

    The Coroner’s Division was able to determine her legal name was Ciera, not Sierra as previously released and they also determined her to be 12 years old at the time of the accident, not 15 as previously reported.

    Her cause of death is still unknown.

    Mystery continues to surround Mendocino County as two children remain unaccounted for following a car accident on HWY. 1 that killed their parents and three siblings on March 26.

    A total of eight Bay Area crews continued the search of the three children ages 15 and 16 on March 28, combing the beach and water looking for any sign of them in the city of Fort Bragg.

    "We had 74 searchers out today," said Lt. Shannon Barney from the Mendocino County Sherriff’s Office, "We wanted to cover the beaches at low tide, so that if anything drifted up, we could find it before the storm comes in tomorrow."

    A helicopter, mountain rescue teams and resources from San Mateo to Mendocino, focused on the missing children who may or may not have been aboard an SUV barreled off a cliff.

    However, search crews were unable to find anything of value in the quest to find Hannah or Devonte.

    The only visual confirmation of the family before the crash is a surveillance photo of someone believed to be Jennifer Lawrence, a mother of the six adopted kids, buying groceries at Safeway the morning of the tragedy.

    "It's sort of like walking around, like it feels like there are ghosts around, or something," said Fort Bragg resident Quinn Fields.

    In a town as small as Fort Bragg, the tragic accident 20 miles north of the California coastline has left people feeling shaken.

    "I don't know if you’ve ever been in a car accident, but there's that like slow motion moment before like impact, or whatever but I can’t imagine hurtling off of a cliff, and what those poor kids must have been thinking," said Fields.

    Mendocino County residents have places pinwheels and flowers next to the Juan River, where the family’s SUV crashed.