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.
I am really having a hard time coming up with a decent summary of the Hart case. There’s a whole lot to unpack, even more so since the inquest, which is on YouTube in two parts, each lasting six hours.
There’s the crash itself: the car’s computer showing how it happened, how Jen had deliberately driven off the cliff, the location and identification of all the bodies (except Devonte of course), the fact that everyone except Jen had taken horrific amounts of Benadryl, Sarah’s internet searches showing she was in on it, etc.
And then there’s the background, the two adoptions, the various accounts of abuse and deprivation, the long term starvation of the children, the fact that the Hart women were able to adopt the second sibling group of kids WHILE CHILD ABUSE CHARGES AGAINST THEM WERE PENDING for beating the crap out of one of the kids they’d already adopted, the moves, the festivals, the homeschooling, Devonte’s viral photo in 2016, etc.
It’s such an incredible mess.
This will take awhile.
The Charley Project does not discriminate: if you’re have not physically turned up alive or dead, you’re missing for the purposes of this database, even if everyone knows perfectly well what happened to you.
Which brings me to the godawful case of the Hart family, of whom one of them, Devonte, has never been located. His sister’s foot washed ashore months ago, but not a tiny bit of Devonte has turned up, not so much as a single vertebra. I had been desperately hoping they’d find some of Devonte before the year was up so I would not have to start digging into this. I might as well be digging a grave.
And with a case as high profile as this, I feel obligated to put him up. Even though we all know, basically, what happened to Devonte and where he is — swallowed up in the Pacific.
And with a case as high profile as this, I feel obligated to do a detailed write-up. It’s just that there’s so much to look over (high profile ya know) and it’s all so absolutely and unrelentingly horrifying. I’ve been reading about the case for the past twelve hours and I feel the way I did when I visited Treblinka.
Even the photos of the kids. So many photos. And they’re so SKINNY. Knobby chins and cheekbones, their faces like skulls, stick arms and legs. And so SMALL. They were starved of food and love for so long, and under so much stress.
The inquest into the family’s deaths will be held next week. It will take two days, will be live-streamed, and is said to be releasing some shocking information, as if what is already known was not shocking enough already.
Those poor, poor children.
In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Nicole Sherese Cearo, a 20-year-old pregnant woman who disappeared from Seattle, Washington on March 30, 2009.
Nicole’s disappearance was the subject of excellent, in-depth coverage by the podcast Under the Redline, and various people close to the case were interviewed. Unfortunately, as far as I can determine, the Under the Redline podcast is no longer extant. (Which is a shame; it was really good.) But I was able to get most of their information onto Nicole’s page.
This is one of those cases where it is manifestly obvious what happened, and well-known in the community, it’s just that the police don’t think they have enough evidence to prosecute the suspect. I am sorry for it; Nicole deserves justice.
This week’s featured missing person is Austin Jerrel Renshaw, a 22-year-old man who disappeared from Spring Glen, Washington on October 27, 2003. His car was found abandoned with a partially eaten fast food meal inside it. He was last seen purchasing the meal and apparently vanished shortly thereafter.
Foul play is suspected in his case.
In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Rosalita F. Longee, an 18-year-old woman who disappeared from Wapato, Washington on June 30, 2015. Although I don’t know her tribe for sure, Wapato is located within the boundaries of the Yakama Indian Reservation.
I don’t know much about Rosalita’s disappearance, just that she left home after an argument. She is mentioned in this October 2018 article about indigenous women who went missing or were murdered on or near the Yakama reservation; her name was added to the list after the fact, and the article quotes the Charley Project as a source. The only additional info I could glean from it is that her nickname is Rose.
I got all the photos of Rosalita from her Facebook page; she enjoyed taking selfies and the most recent one was posted six months before her disappearance.
In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Roland Elton Woodall Sconawah, a 23-year-old man who disappeared from Lyle, Washington on November 21, 2013.
I don’t know his tribe or, indeed, anything else about him or his disappearance; it’s a “few details” one. I looked up his surname and discovered several Yakama people with that name; perhaps Roland is Yakama too, but I’m not sure.