I have done my best for it

FINALLY got the wretched Hart case finished today, after weeks of researching and struggling to put the story together. The case summary is 3,200+ words, exceeding the Peter Kema casefile by over 1,000 words.

It was a challenge, trying to tell the story in such a way as to minimize confusion when there was so much going on, and so many lies told. While Jen and Sarah are abusing their three adopted kids in Minnesota, at the same time down in Texas three more kids who will be adopted by Jen and Sarah but whom they don’t know yet are being taken away from their biological mother. Etc.

And it’s such an awful story, just sheer horror and misery start to finish. The sadness behind those forced smiles. The tiny, scrawny kids, their limbs like sticks, hungry all the time because their mothers didn’t feed them.

And so many people, in so many parts of the country, screwed up. This is mostly on Jen and Sarah, but it wasn’t all them. They should never been permitted to adopt children, never mind a large number of kids from foster care. They should never been permitted to adopt the first set of kids after how they’d treated their foster daughter. They should never have been permitted to adopt the second set of kids when they had child abuse proven against them, and admitted by them. Once adopted, there was enough proof of abuse and neglect that the children should have been removed from their homes half a dozen times at least, over the years.

Devonte and his siblings did not have to die the way they did.

I have done my best for them.

10 thoughts on “I have done my best for it

  1. Patrick Kerrigan April 19, 2019 / 2:02 pm

    Meaghan, thanks for the research on this case. It points out the problems with Child Protective Agencies, that routinely fail these children. Also, the failure of the neighbors and others who failed these poor children, by staying quiet.

    We see married couples travelling to China, Russia, and other countries to adopt children, when these children would be alive if the protective services and courts did their job.

    I should speak since here in Chicago, with let Jesse Smullett get a way with his hoax. Also R. Kelly was given a pass a few years ago. Also a judge removed an violent offender from electronic monitoring, who violated his probation. The result was that he shot and killed an off-duty Hispanic Chicago Police officer, sitting in a car with some friends. The offender was in an argument earlier with a group of Hispanics, that were on a bus at the Rock & Roll McDonald’s. I always the judge will not accept responsibility for his decisions, or the lack of action by the Cook County States Attorney’s Office.

  2. Sheila April 20, 2019 / 12:41 am

    I am so sorry for what you had to go through to create this case file. Please know that you are doing a great deal of good and that so many of us admire the work you do

  3. Catherine April 20, 2019 / 2:11 am

    Whoa. I had not heard the whole story. My goodness. Those poor kids. And those neighbors!!! They must be devastated. They tried to do the right thing and oh my goodness. I don’t know how I’d go on. My heart goes out to them. I’ll be keeping those children’s spirits in my prayers.

    • Meaghan April 20, 2019 / 8:37 am

      So many people dropped the ball. I feel bad for the neighbors, who have said they feel terrible for not calling the cops after that thing with Hannah, and that they are afraid their eventual call to CPS sparked the fatal event.

      • Catherine April 20, 2019 / 1:10 pm

        It’s really terrible. I feel so bad for them. Also, I’m very disturbed about the search for a no kill shelter for the dog, only because the regard for the dogs life was more important than the kids? Yikes. So twisted. Not that I think the poor dog survived either. That just really stuck out to me. You’re basically planning multiple murders but you want the dog at a no kill. Oh my goodness.

      • missingmysteries April 22, 2019 / 11:54 pm

        We can’t imagine the guilt that family feels, and how could we, as it’s such a unique situation. I think they did what they felt they could do and my heart goes out to them. And while the call they made might be considered a trigger by some, the suspect couple had to have had some type of extreme disfunction and/or serious psych issues to begin with, because a simple call to CPS, even with an investigation, would not have triggered such an extreme and violent response in just about any other couple or family. I think they hit their breaking point a long time ago, and everything they did since then was just a charade to prolong their existence. I think I speak for many people in saying that the neighbor caller did what she was able to do and shouldn’t live with guilt that she didn’t earn.

      • Meaghan April 23, 2019 / 9:42 am

        There’s speculation that perhaps Jen killed Devonte in a rage after realizing the family had been reported to CPS again, and perhaps this was what prompted the murder/suicide. But I think if she had, cadaver dogs would have smelled his body. And I don’t think all five of the other kids would have been willing to get in the car with them, and stay in it (they must have had escape opportunities, there had to have been fueling stops and such) if they knew Devonte was dead or if he was mysteriously not with them.

        My guess is that call and the subsequent CPS visit was just the last straw. The family couldn’t hold up their charade much longer; the kids were reaching adulthood and would not be eligible for adoption subsidies anymore, and thanks to Jen’s “parenting” they were not equipped to go out on their own. And Jen was so stuck on her narcissistic fantasy of one big happy family, racially harmonious and in tune with nature, the warrior mom who saved six wounded babies from the evil foster care system and made them whole again. I expect she thought the drive off the cliff would look like an accident and the family would be still admired after death.

        This was definitely not the neighbor couple’s fault. I agree that they were doing the best they could in the situation. I don’t blame them for not calling the police about the Hannah incident earlier, either. Jen was such an accomplished liar and manipulator.

        I hope, now that the story is widely known, if people get a kid running to them in the night claiming abuse and begging for help, they call the cops immediately no matter how nice and reasonable that kid’s parents seem and no matter how logical the explanation appears to be.

  4. Vincent April 20, 2019 / 4:03 pm

    Hi Meaghan. You did a really good job on the Devonte Hart writeup. Thank you. This case means a lot to me also, because I’m from Oregon and I’m also familiar with the California coastal area where Devonte’s siblings were murdered. As for Devonte, I tend to think something else happened to him. I think Jen murdered him out of anger because he told the neighbors what was going on. Sarah rushed out of work that day because Jen called her and told her what happened.

    • Meaghan April 20, 2019 / 4:04 pm

      I think the cadaver dogs would have smelled it if they’d done that. They can smell it even after a body has been moved.

  5. Sonya April 21, 2019 / 2:02 am

    I think you pulled everything together quite nicely, and wrote a very coherent and well written case file. It must have been so difficult to write…..not only for the difficulties of the case and pulling it all together, but I figure it must have been emotionally difficult writing it, too. Heart wrenchingly so.

    I hope Dana Kebalb doesn’t blame herself. She was trying to do the right thing, she couldn’t know that this would happen.

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