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Same-sex couple and children killed after car plunges off cliff

Sarah and Jennifer Heart were killed alongside three of their kids, with another three presumed dead.

2018-04-03

A lesbian couple and three of their children have died after their car plunged off a cliff in California.

Jennifer and Sarah Hart and three of their six children, 19-year-old Markis and 14-year-olds Jeremiah and April, died when their car drove off a cliff from the Pacific Coast Highway in California.

The family's upturned vehicle was found by emergency responders on March 26 on the rocky shoreline below the cliff.

The couple's three other children who were also in the car at the time are presumed dead. Authorities say the bodies of Hannah, 16, Devonte, 15, and Sierra, 12, may have been washed out to sea.

According to CNN, police investigating the cause of the accident say they are looking into whether the car was driven off the cliff intentionally.

The family's car was discovered at the base of a California cliff last Monday (March 26).

Investigtors say data from the vehicle's airbag module and software indicated that the car had stopped and then accelerated off the road. No skid marks or brake marks were found leading to the cliff edge.

Greg Baarts, the acting assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol's Northern Division, said: "At this point in our investigation, that is the direction we are going." 

The fatal incident took place more than 500 miles from the family's home in Washington, and it has since emerged that child services officials had begun investigating the Harts for "alleged abuse or neglect".

The Washington Department of Social and Health Services said it tried unsuccessfully to contact the family on three occasions, first on March 23, then on Monday, the day of the crash, and Tuesday.

It has also since emerged that Sarah Hart had pleaded guilty in 2011 to misdemeanour domestic assault involving one of the children.

Friends of the couple, however, describe them as loving parents who gave their children everything.