Just days before a crash that killed at least five members of a single family and left three children missing, one of the mothers who died sent an alarming text message to a friend claiming that she was so sick, she might have to go to a hospital.
Emergency call records from Washington state, which have been obtained The Oregonian/OregonLive, Sarah Hart sent an alarming message to her friend, Cheryl Hart, at 3 a.m. on March 23, just two days before Sarah Hart and six others were found dead and three others left missing after their car plunged off a cliff on California's Pacific Coast Highway.
Cheryl Hart of Vancouver, Washington, was unable to reach her friend after the alarming text message was sent. On March 26, she called a Clark County emergency dispatcher to report that she had not heard back from her friend in two days.
"Nobody has been able to get ahold of her, talk to her or seen her since...or her wife, which is Jen," she told the dispatcher at 1:15 p.m. on Monday, March 26. She went on to tell the dispatcher that she had checked hospitals, but none had any record of Sarah.
Hours later, a Highway 1 traveler discovered the Hart family's SUV at the bottom of a 100-foot scenic cliff in Northern California and alerted authorities.
Officials said the bodies of parents Jennifer and Sarah Hart were found inside the car, while three of their children, Markis, 19; Jeremiah, 14; and Abigail, 14, were found just outside the vehicle.
On April 7, vacationers spotted a body floating in the Pacific Ocean surf near the site of the crash. Investigators could not immediately identify the body, though it appeared be an African-American girl's body.
The bodies of Devonte, 15; Hannah, 16; and Sierra, 12 are still missing.
Police determined that the SUV had been traveling at around 90 mph when it went off the Pacific Coast Highway, and they found no skid marks. Authorities now believe the crash was intentional.
"I'm to the point where I no longer am calling this an accident; I'm calling it a crime," Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman told HLN.
"Based upon the California Highway Patrol investigation, it is their belief 'a felony has been committed,'" court documents state.
According to authorities' timeline, the family was in the Newport, Oregon area at around 8:15 a.m. on March 24, two days before their SUV was found. They drove sound along U.S. 101 until they reached Leggett, California. They took Route 1 to reach Fort Bragg at around 8 p.m. that night. California Highway Patrol found security camera footage from a Safeway store showing Jennifer Hart there at around 8 a.m. on March 25.
Jennifer and Sarah Hart have a troubling history with their children, which might provide clues in the case.
The couple, who adopted their six children, have faced allegations of child abuse and were investigated by Child Protective Services. In 2010, Sarah Hart pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic assault charge involving one of the children. She received a year of probation and community service.
Just three days before the crash, neighbors in Woodland, Washington called Child Protective Services about strange meetings with their children. Authorities could not get in touch with the parents.