USA woman who drove SUV with family off cliff was drunk

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On Thursday, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said it had found belongings of the Thottapilly family, of Santa Clarita, as well as vehicle parts from their SUV about 14 miles down river from where investigators believe they rolled down an embankment.

By the next morning, the Harts had left town.

Investigators have said they believe the missing children were inside the vehicle at the time of crash.

Carpenter also said that Sarah Hart and two of the couple's children had "a significant amount" of an ingredient found in Benadryl in their system, the Associated Press reported. The crash happened just days after authorities in Washington state opened an investigation following allegations the children were being neglected. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services said the "now deceased children were identified as potential victims of alleged abuse or neglect", CNN reported.

The 31-metre drop killed the women, both 39, and their children Markis Hart, 19; Jeremiah Hart, 14; and Abigail Hart, 14.

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Carpenter said none of the car's occupants were wearing seatbelts.

Officials have said the crash may have been intentional, judging by software in the vehicle showing it stopped at a pull-off area before speeding off the cliff. The bodies of the three eldest children have been recovered, while a body recovered last week is believed to be one of the three other missing children. Allman says DNA analysis from biological family members will be used to determine her identity.

There were no skid marks at the scene, Carpenter said.

Cheryl Hart, who identified herself as a friend of Sarah Hart, called 911 in Clark County on Monday, March 26, anxious because she hadn't been able to reach Sarah since receiving a text message from her at 3 a.m. two days earlier. Cheryl Hart said she hadn't been able to reach Sarah or Jennifer after receiving the text message. The neighbors said the children complained to them about being mistreated by their parents and asked for food, saying their parents withheld meals as punishment.

Last August, soon after the Harts moved into their rural home, neighbors Bruce and Dana DeKalb said a child rang their doorbell, seeking sanctuary from abuse.

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Hannah Hart, 16, fled the home one night and told the neighbors "the moms were racist and were abusing her" and that "she was being whipped with belts", the records showed.

The Mendocino County Sheriff, in conjunction with the Mendicino County Coroner's office, said during a Friday news conference that the body of an adult female was recovered about seven miles south of where the Valencia family's vehicle is believed to have gone off an embankment.

Jennifer Hart (center) was drunk when she drove her wife and six children off of a cliff in California, according to police.

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