Sheriff’s office addresses 911 call of alleged abuse involving Hart family before deadly crash

Hart family photo from family friend (KPTV)

A family friend called 911 after receiving a worrisome text message from Sarah Hart before she died in a crash on the California coastline.

Sarah and Jennifer Hart, along with at least three of their adopted children, died in a crash off the California coast in the Westport area of Mendocino County on March 26. Three other adopted children were believed to be in the car, but they have not been found.

Newly released 911 calls show a family friend and Child Protective Services workers were concerned about the Woodland family and the children before the crash.

One woman called 911 on March 26 saying she received a text message from Sarah Hart at 3 a.m. the previous Saturday.

The woman told dispatchers Sarah Hart said she was sick, “but no one’s been able to get ahold of her, talk to her or seen her since that text message, or her wife, which is Jen.”

The woman continued, “She said she was unable to come out or go to work and thought she was going to have to go to the doctor, but I checked the hospital and they didn’t have a record of her. I think her phone is now dead.”

Hours after Sarah Hart sent that text message was sent, investigators determined the Hart family was in Newport, Oregon. The following day, Jennifer Hart was spotted on surveillance video at Safeway in Fort Bragg, California.

A CPS worker told 911 dispatchers she had tried twice to contact the Harts at their Woodland home, due to concerns the children “aren’t being fed.”

“Different cars have been moving in and out I’ve noticed, so I feel like someone’s there,” the CPS worker told emergency dispatchers.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office addressed another 911 call that was made in November 2017 from the father of a neighbor of the Harts in Woodland. He relayed a story about one of the children running into his daughter’s home in August 2017 claiming she was being abused.

A Clark County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said the call came months after the alleged incident occurred and was being reported second-hand by a man in Pierce County, so it was not investigated further.

Steve Frkovich made that 911 call and told FOX 12 it’s a very difficult situation for all involved.

“These kids, I feel, would still be alive today if the authorities could do their jobs, but we have their hands so tied, that it doesn't matter if you see something and report it. Nobody can do anything,” he said.

Additional court documents from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services state another Hart child, Devonte, went to a neighboring home nine times between March 15 and March 23 to ask for food, mostly at odd hours when his parents were away. The teen said his parents were punishing him by taking away food and they "sometimes" abused him, according to the documents.

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