The young man made famous from a 2014 protest photo is believed to have died Monday, along with five of his siblings, when the car that they were in plunged off of a steep cliff in California.
Now, authorities are investigating whether the children’s adoptive mothers deliberately drove off of the cliff in a murder/suicide pact, after allegations were made that they were starving the children.
The body of Devonte has not been found, but his adoptive mothers, Jennifer and Sarah Hart, were found in the car that plunged 100 feet off of a Pacific Coast Highway cliff, along with three of his siblings. Authorities believe all the children were likely in the car.
In the days leading up to the tragedy, Devonte had approached neighbors in his home in Washington state, asking for food for himself and his siblings. He told neighbors that his mothers were punishing them by withholding food, and CPS was immediately called to investigate.
However, when CPS arrived at the home last Friday, the family had fled, only to be found Monday, hundreds of miles away at the bottom of a coastal California cliff.
The lesbian mothers who died on Monday along with at least three of their six adopted children after plunging 100ft over a coastal cliff in California had been reported to Child Protective Services days earlier for allegedly starving their kids.
On Friday, neighbors of Jennifer and Sarah Hart, both 39, called CPS to report that their son Devonte had come to their home asking for food every day for a week.
They said Devonte – who made national headlines when he was pictured hugging a police officer during a 2014 protest – asked them to leave food out in a box for him and said his mothers were ‘punishing’ him by not feeding him.
In 2017, another of the children came to their home at 1.30am asking for their ‘protection’, they said.
On Friday, a CPS worker arrived at the home and knocked on the door, according to the neighbors Bruce and Dana DeKalb, but the Harts never answered.
Instead, they packed up in a hurry and fled with all six kids in their 2003 GMC Sierra truck, they said.
On Monday, their bodies were found at the bottom of a cliff in Westport, California, off Highway I along with the bodies of three of their children, Markis, 19; Jeremiah 14; and Abigail, 14.
Hannah, 16; Devonte, 15; and Sierra, 12, have not been found.
The revelations about the family are a sobering turn, as the Harts publicly portrayed themselves as a happy blended family. They even appeared at several Bernie Sanders rallies during the election.
It is not clear yet if they drove over the cliff purposefully or by accident but police said no brake marks were found at the scene.
To reach the cliff edge at the lookout, the women would have had to have driven off the Pacific Highway and traversed 75ft of rugged dirt road.
It is not known yet if they came to a stop at the edge before falling over.
‘I can tell you it was a very confusing scene because there were no skid marks, there were no brake marks, there was no indication of why this vehicle traversed approximately over 75ft of a dirt pull out and went into the pacific ocean,’ Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said on Wednesday.
‘We have no reason to believe, we have no evidence, that this was an intentional act. Certainly people are wondering what caused this.”
‘If this was an intentional act, I truly believe we are going to come to that conclusion.
‘If we do, that information will be released to the public,’ he added.
It was also revealed this week on Wednesday that in 2011, Sarah Hart pleaded guilty to a domestic assault charge in Minnesota.
Her plea led to the dismissal of a charge of malicious punishment of a child, online court records say.
Another neighbor who lived near the family in Oregon years ago said the children mostly stayed inside and were not allowed to eat sugar.