After two moms were repeatedly accused of abusing their six adopted children, they took extreme measures to avoid losing them.
Last week, a jury ruled that Jennifer and Sarah Hart deliberately killed all six children and themselves by driving their car off a cliff in California, Oregon Live reports.
The ruling came after two days of testimony that revealed some new disturbing details about the March 2018 incident, including what Sarah Googled in the days and hours leading up to the crash.
As Jennifer drove the family from their home in Washington to the cliff in Mendocino County, her wife was in the passenger seat searching how much the children would suffer, California Highway Patrol Officer Jake Slates said.
According to CNN, searches included:
“How long does it take to die from hypothermia while drowning in a car?”
“How easily can I overdose on over the counter medications?”
“Can 500mg of Benadryl kill a 125lb woman?”
Before heading over the cliff, Jennifer had the equivalent of five shots of alcohol. Sarah and three of the children had ingested exceedingly large doses of Benedryl.
Testimony revealed that the six children — Markis, 19, Hannah, 16, Devonte, 15, Jeremiah, 14, Abigail, 14, and Sierra, 12 — died immediately on impact.
Slates said the moms decided “that if they can’t have their kids, that nobody was going to have those kids.”
The parents were plagued by allegations of abuse starting in 2008, two years after they adopted their first children, CNN reports. Sarah was indicted for domestic assault in 2011 after bruising one of her daughters during a spanking punishment.
A Washington neighbor also said the children, who were homeschooled, would come to his home at night and ask for food.
On the day the family died, Child Protective Services stopped by to do a welfare check after the neighbor reported them. They were already in California.
The children’s deaths raised concerns about the child welfare system, especially regarding situations where families move states like the Harts. They moved from Minnesota to Oregon, then Washington, after the allegations.
Mendocino County Sheriff-Coroner Thomas Allman said:
“Where are the systematic failures that possibly could have prevented this? We do not have a national database for child abuse allegations.”
If you are someone you know is experiencing abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.