Devonte Hart, his five siblings and his adoptive parents were allegedly in an SUV that went off a cliff in Northern California on March 26. His adoptive parents Jennifer and Sarah Hart, both 39, and three of the children, Markis Hart, 19; Jeremiah Hart, 14; and Abigail Hart, 14, have all been reported dead. Their three other adopted children are missing, 16-year-old Hannah Hart, 12-year-old Sierra Hart and 15-year-old Devonte, who is known for a viral photo in which he is hugging a police officer in November 2014, are missing. A body of a Black female was found in the ocean and not far from the crash site, which authorities believe is Hannah or Sierra, but are awaiting the result of an autopsy. The family lived in Woodland, Washington, near Portland, Oregon, and were reportedly on a road trip, though Child Protective Services had been trying to reach them for days.
There have been countless reports of abuse, which dates back to 2008 and, sadly, despite a handful of 911 calls by neighbors, no one at Child Protective Services or the various communities took enough action to save the lives of children who were clearly crying out for help. In the latest report from The Oregonian, one of the kids even claimed their parents were racist.
The details are chilling and one of the fist times we have heard race acknowledged directly from anyone in the Hart family—however, it is obvious race was an issue and the kids were aware. Sixteen-year-old Hannah appeared to be fighting for her and her siblings lives, The Oregonian reports, “Hannah jumped from her second-story window at 1:30 a.m. last year, rang her doorbell and ran into her house. Hannah was covered in weeds and blackberries and asked DeKalb to hide her. The girl said her parents were racist and had been abusing her.” The DeKalbs were their neighbors and in addition, “All eight of the Harts came over the next morning. Jennifer Hart said Hannah had two missing teeth after falling and knocking them out and that Hannah didn’t want new ones.”
Sadly, Devonte Hart was supposedly afraid of authorities splitting up his siblings. Says The Oregonian, “He was apparently concerned about law enforcement getting involved and didn’t want he and his siblings to be split up. DeKalb asked why the children weren’t ever outside, and Devonte said his parents wanted to keep their children hidden.”
How were the neighbors able to see all of this and not make sure something was done to protect these children? It begs the question, if this had been two Black parents who adopted six white children, would something had been done?
Below is the famous photo of Devonte Hart.