Investigation Discovery’s two-part docuseries titled ‘Broken Harts’ delves into the unsettling story of the Hart family. In March 2018, Jennifer Hart drove her wife and their six children off a cliff in California, with them plummeting to their death. Devonte Hart, who became viral as the child who hugged a police officer during the protests in Portland, Oregon, in 2014, was part of the family as well. In the months that followed the crash, remains of all victims were found, except for Devonte’s. So, if you’re wondering what happened to him, we’ve got you covered.
What Happened to Devonte Hart?
Devonte Jordan was born in 2002 to Sherry Davis and Clarence Celestine. At the time, Sherry was addicted to cocaine, leading to the termination of her parental rights in 2006. Devonte and his siblings, Sierra and Jeremiah, were then put in the care of his paternal aunt, Priscilla Celestine. But one evening, she let the biological mother watch the kids. This was in violation of an order set by the court, and when a social worker saw that, the kids were taken away from Priscilla.
In February 2009, Jennifer and Sarah Hart adopted Devonte and his two siblings, who then joined a family comprising three other children. On March 26, 2018, all six children were in the SUV with their mothers when it went off a cliff in Mendocino County, California. While ensuing searches in the vicinity led to the remains of Jennifer, Susan, and five of the six Hart children, Devonte’s remains were never recovered. While initially declared a missing person, the 15-year-old has since been presumed dead, given the circumstances.
Who Killed Devonte Hart?
An investigation quickly revealed that Jennifer Hart was driving the vehicle, and it seemed like the crash was intentional. Apart from Jennifer being drunk and no brake marks in the area, a disturbing pattern of abuse began to emerge, with the six children at the center of it. As the authorities talked to multiple people who knew the family or lived as their neighbors, it became increasingly apparent that the children were mistreated over the years.
Before their deaths, the Harts lived in Woodland, Washington, a place they called their home since 2017. Their neighbors, the DeKalbs, talked of a series of alarming incidents regarding the Harts. They stated that starting a few days before the crash, Devonte came to them — sometimes two to three times a day — asking for food. Among other things, the teenager asked for peanut butter, tortillas, and cured meats. Eventually, Devonte told the DeKalbs that his parents, Jennifer and Sarah, were punishing them by not letting them eat.
Devonte further stated that whatever Hannah, his sister, told them a few months earlier was true. At the time, Hannah came to the DeKalbs late one night and wanted to get away from her parents because they were abusive. Devonte pleaded with them not to call the authorities for fear of the siblings being separated. Worried, the DeKalbs eventually called the authorities, and just a couple of days later, Harts’ deaths were national news.
Investigation showed that Jennifer and Sarah had a hand in the crash, and the children’s manner of death was ruled a homicide. Devonte, whose remains were not found, was presumed dead, believing that he was washed away in the ocean. His biological mother, Sherry, was critical of how the authorities handled the abuse allegations. In 2018, she said, “They’re so quick to snatch [children] from people like us. but once they’re adopted, they don’t even check on them?”