"Why did this happen?"
This is the very question posed in a nerve-racking highlight from Discovery+'s two-hour documentary about the Hart family murder-suicide. The new documentary, titled Broken Harts and available for streaming now, examines the horrifyingly true story of adoptive parents Jennifer and Sarah Hart, who died alongside their six children in a 2018 car incident.
However, as the clip above notes, this was not an everyday car accident. Despite their online persona depicting a perfectly happy home, allegations of child abuse against the couple popped up in three different states.
So, per retired Sheriff Tom Allman in the Broken Harts clip, it didn't take long for authorities to piece together the situation. "To know that we had possibly six children, two adults," the former sheriff states to the camera, "I don't think, I know, it was on everybody's mind of this is what we're dealing with."
According to another official from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, named Lt. Shannon Barney, Sarah was the first of the family to be identified. "We suspected the other adult female was Jennifer Hart, her married partner," he recalls. "And two deceased children, and one that was believed to be a child but was late teens. So, we weren't really sure."
Initially, following the incident, not all of the Hart children were accounted for. As Cynthia Bartley, the Evidence Technician for the Sheriff's Office, remembers, the team quickly realized that they "were missing three children."
Those familiar with the case will know that the bodies of only five children—including Hannah, 16; Markis, 19; Jeremiah, 14; Abigail, 14; and Ciera, 12—were ever discovered. Although the body of Devonte, 15, was never recovered, he was ruled deceased by a special jury.
Since the fatal event took place in Mendocino County, Calif. and the family was from Woodland, Wash., Sheriff Allman reveals they had many questions to ask. "What's between Mendocino County and Woodland, Washington?" he inquires aloud. "How long would it take them to get here? Why did this happen?"
Broken Harts is directed by Gregory Palmer, who also executive produced the documentary alongside Patrick Reardon, Harrison Land, Skye Borgman, Oren Katzeff, Geneva Wasserman, Jon Koa, Lorna Thomas and Katherine Grandy.
For an answer to the above questions, be sure to check out the new documentary on Discovery+. You can also read more about the bone-chilling story here.