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Case of the Hart family: the person who called 911 reported that the child asked for help

But under the varnish, there were cries for help from children, reports from neighbors and accusations of child abuse. Neighbors described disturbing encounters with children who cried for help and asking for food, one of which triggered a report for Child Protective Services in March.

About four months before the Harts SUV rushed down a cliff in northern California, a man made a 911 call regarding the family.

"There are some children that I think are being very mistreated," the man told the office in November.

He reported on a disturbing event in which one of the children arrived at the house of his daughter, who lived next to Harts, asking for help around 2 a. M.

It was one of at least four events in which the children apparently told other adults about problems in the home in a case that raised questions about the family and the warning signals that preceded the incident.

It is not immediately clear if the authorities took any action after the November call.

On March 26, the SUV of the Hart family was found upside down on a coast in California and five of its bodies: the parents, Jennifer and Sarah Hart; Markis, 19, Jeremiah and Abigail, both 14, were found. Three of his brothers, Devonte, 15, Hannah, 16 and Sierra, 12, are still missing, and could have been washed away by seawater because no one was wearing a seatbelt.

The fatal accident occurred when child protection personnel in Washington State attempted to visit the family after a report of a child's report of abuse. When officials came to visit Hart's home in Woodland, Washington, no one responded.

Authorities believe that the fatal accident may have been intentional.

& # 39; Everyone was scared to death & # 39;

The Hart family had recently lived in Woodland, Washington. And in November, a man called 911 regarding the family.

The caller was the father of a woman who lived next to Harts.

  Authorities now believe that the 6 Hart children were in the SUV at the time of the cliff's fatal fall

"They have 4 black children, but that part does not matter," he told the office. "They are new here, Texas, but the other night, a little girl jumped out of the second floor window in the roof and then went down to the floor and then ran to my daughter and this is about 2 in the morning, begging them to help her. "

He said the girl cried and begged her daughter not to tell her parents that she was there. They were notified and one of the parents came.

"Then she [one of the parents] had the four children come back later and say that everything was fine, and everyone was standing at attention, as if everyone was scared to death," the man said to the office. "And I think something very serious is happening."

The girl did not specify why she was scared, she said.

The caller said he had to report the incident after this daughter told him about it.

"The more I feel about him, I can not live with that, someone has to go there and control these children," he said.

It was not clear what action was taken after this call.

A child asks for food from the neighbor

Four months later, things increased in Woodland.

Neighbor Bruce DeKalb said he had two disturbing encounters with children. The first involved one of the girls telling her that they were being mistreated.

"One of the girls came to the door at 1:30 in the morning and said that she needed help and that the parents did not treat her properly, and (she) wanted us to protect her," DeKalb said.

  The shared hug around the world

"We ended up receiving their parents back … and then I went there the next morning and I just checked things out, and everything seemed normal , and we let it go from there. "

Then, a few weeks before the fatal incident, Devonte "They started ordering food and said they were taking their meals because of the punishment," DeKalb told HLN.

"It started as once a day and intensified up to three times a day, up to a week. We went through and decided that we needed professional help."

DeKalb said he called Child Protective Services on March 23. , and officials arrived just after Jennifer Hart arrived home from work. But she did not open the door.

The next morning, the family and their vehicle were gone.

Child Protection Services tried to visit the family twice more, on March 26 and 27, but could not attend. contact, said the Department of Health and Social Services of the State of Washington.

He had no history with the Hart family and had been trying to communicate after the children "were identified as potential victims of alleged abuse or neglect," according to his statement.

But CPS was not the only one who tried to find them.

On March 26, a friend of Sarah Hart called 911 for a welfare check at home. The friend told the operator that she received a text message from Sarah Hart, saying that she was sick, that she could not leave and that she might need to see a doctor. His phone was dead and no one had seen his wife since then, the friend said to the office.

Five of the bodies of members of the Hart family were found in California that day.

Domestic assault

  The unsettling past of a family whose car rushed down a cliff

The six children were adopted from Texas. Family and friends told the detectives that the Harts traveled together and were rarely separated.

In the last decade, the family moved from state to state and taught their children at home.

One of the parents, Sarah Hart, pleaded guilty to domestic assault in 2011 after she told the police that she had tipped her 6-year-old son over the bathtub and had beaten her for behavioral problems.

It is alleged that Jennifer Hart hit one of her children in the arm, leaving a bruise on the arm, the child told another adult in 2008. The parents told the authorities that they did not know how the bruise arrived and said that the boy had fallen eight steps days before.

They said the child had food problems, stealing people's food at school, eating out of the trash or the floor. That case was closed.

Chris Boyette of CNN, Jason Hanna, Nicole Chavez and Tina Burnside contributed to this report.


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