"How long does it take to die from hypothermia in water while drowning in a car?" Sarah Hart also searched

By Harriet Sokmensuer
April 04, 2019 06:15 PM
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As she sat in the passenger seat of her family’s SUV with her wife Jennifer behind the wheel and her six kids in the back, Sarah Hart searched Google about whether it would be painful to die.

“Is death by drowning relatively painless?” Hart searched Google on March 24, the day before Jennifer drove their family off a 100-foot cliff, killing everyone inside.

These Google searches were read by California Highway Patrol Officer Jay Slates during the Mendocino County coroner’s inquest presented by the Sheriff’s Office Thursday.

“How long does it take to die from hypothermia in water while drowning in a car?” Sarah also searched, according to Slates’ testimony.

Sarah began searching at 12:30 a.m. on March 24 as she and her family neared the Washington-Oregon border. She would continue to conduct Google searches along these lines until 6:30 p.m. that night.

Credit: Jen Hart/Facebook

Right after Googling, Sarah would delete each search from her phone, Slate testified.

The inquest is being presented more than a year after the crash, which killed Jennifer, Sarah, and their six children: Markis, Jeremiah, Abigail, Ciera, Hannah and Devonte. Authorities said they hoped the inquest would bring a close to the high-profile case, which sparked national headlines when authorities announced the fatal car crash was a crime — not an accident. The family’s picture-perfect online image also drew debate, as disturbing details leaked out about the realities the children had experienced at home.

Credit: Facebook

On Wednesday, experts testified that Sarah had toxic levels of Benadryl in her system at the time of the crash.

Slates testified that shortly after leaving their Woodland, Washington, home on March 23, the family stopped at a Walmart, where Sarah ran inside and bought a bottle of generic brand Benadryl.

Hours later, she would search Google about overdosing.

“Can 500 ml of Benadryl kill a 120 pound woman?” she searched, Slates testified. She reportedly also searched, “How can I easily overdose on over-the-counter medications?” and “What will happen when overdosing with Benadryl?”

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Evidence from the inquest presented Thursday showing the trajectory of family’s SUV
| Credit: Courtesy California Highway Patrol

One of the final searches on her phone, Slate testified, was searching for no-kill shelters for dogs.

The family’s dogs have not been accounted for and are believed to have been in the vehicle with the family.

Jennifer Hart drove her family’s SUV off the cliff about 54 hours after she and her family first left their home. On Thursday, a California Highway Patrol expert testified that the crash was intentional.

“When the Harts left their home, I don’t think they knew what they were going to do at that point,” Slates said. “I do think that they knew CPS was there.”

He continued: “One of the final questions I would ask all my witnesses would be, based on how well you know Sarah and Jennifer Hart, would this be an act that they could do? Would they be the type of people that would say ‘If I can’t have my children, nobody can have my children?’ And most of the witnesses either stated, ‘Yes, Jennifer would say that’ or “Yes, that would be a decision that either or both of them would make.'”

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.