MENDOCINO, Calif. – A body was recovered on Saturday in the vicinity where an SUV fell off a cliff in northern California last month, killing a family of eight in what authorities suspect may have been an intentional shock. The body appears to be that of an African-American woman, but age and identity could not be determined immediately, said Lt. Shannon Barney. An autopsy is planned on Tuesday to determine the cause of death.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that a couple of vacations along the coast saw a possible body, which a third passerby pulled out of the surf Saturday afternoon.
Although authorities said they believe the body could be one of the two girls missing from the accident, the positive identification will probably be made by DNA analysis, which could take weeks.
It was believed that Sarah and Jennifer Hart and their six adopted children were in the family SUV when they sank on a cliff last month. Five bodies were found on March 26 near Mendocino, a few days later Washington State authorities began to investigate the Harts for possible child negligence, but three of their children were not immediately recovered from the scene.