The Hart Family — as they were

Why Isn’t The Media Reporting About The Tragic and Suspicious Deaths of Six Children of Color Who Were Adopted By White Parents?

Last night was a rough one for multiple reasons — but it ended up being about one of the most disturbing stories I’ve read in quite awhile.

I was attempting to scope the Daily Mail for something when the blaring headline that dominated the page gave me pause. It seemed to indicated that the Black children smiling with the two White women in a picture from 2015 — had been killed.

I quickly scanned the article and gathered the pertinent information before heading to other sources that were more dignified in their reporting. The Daily Mail ultimately does break news stories before most — and somehow their methods do yield comprehensive results — but the salacious approach is what warrants a cool dip into optional territory.

So — I ventured to other outlets — where the headlines held me hostage:

Family famed for protest photo die when SUV goes off cliff

The articles matched the previous one — and centered around two White women — Jennifer and Sarah Hart — who adopted six children of color and from the photo it appears five of them were Black — while the the teenage son looked Hispanic.

The story goes that the children may have been abused by their adoptive parents and this comes from confessions that neighbors shared when the news about the accident spread — and they found out like the rest of us that the “SUV plunged off a scenic California highway into the ocean.” The two women were found dead in the vehicle — with their seatbelts on — while three of the six children “flew out” during the crash and had to be retrieved from various points along the coast.

Crash site

The other three kids are still missing.

There was also another vital part of this unfolding story that isn’t being harped on for reasons that don’t add up. Fifteen-year-old Devonte Hart — who is one of the missing — played a vital role during the Ferguson protests back in 2014. He was the young Black boy — hugging the cop in the iconic photo that swiftly went viral — mainly because of its juxtaposition with the chaotic environment that surrounded the subjects.

A Black boy — overcome with the emotion — hugging a White cop seemed to humanize us — and the popularity of the photo gave the media permission to use the tear-stained face as the symbol that proves how “not all White cops are monsters who hate Black people.”

Devonte Hart in the iconic photo that became a “Black Mirror” moment

And now the boy who enjoyed social media fame is missing and feared dead and there’s not much being reported about this nauseating situation — apart from the initial breaking news.

The other aspect of this nightmare that kept me up at night is the testimony from neighbors of the White women who chose Woodland, Washington as the location to raise the children they collected. There are stories of the kids being mistreated and the red flags were inspired by Devonte repeatedly stopping by the homes of neighbors — begging for food — because as he explained — the women who “cared” for him — sometimes withheld food as punishment.

Some of the other kids also dropped by to ask for stuff — and one girl in particular not only asked for a blanket — but also made it quite clear that she was being abused.

Of course — there has to be a background story to help solidify the madness — and so a little digging pulled up the fact that back in 2011 — Sarah Hart “pleaded guilty to a domestic assault charge in Minnesota and her plea led to the dismissal of a charge of malicious punishment of a child.”

It’s too early to be speculative — but one can’t help but be thrown into mental disarray as you imagine that it’s very likely that these kids were abused to the point of forced starvation — and the neighbors had no choice but to alert child protective services who recently paid the family a visit — and the adult women ignored their arrival and instead hurried the children to their SUV and drove off.

The California Highway Patrol is still trying to figure out what made the SUV
go off an ocean overlook” without any signs of skid marks or any indication that what happened could’ve been an unfortunate accident as opposed to murder suicide.

The layers of this sickening tragedy is immersed in the sensitivity clauses of race — child abuse — and brutal betrayal of the media.

Race — because of the nagging realization that two White women chose to adopt children of color for reasons that could’ve just been coincidental or perhaps there was an agenda that propelled their decision. And their motives would’t matter much — if not for the fact that they allegedly created an environment for the children that became undeniably inhumane.

The betrayal of the media is evident in the refusal to give this story the thorough attention it deserves when you consider the fact that it involves a media star — who was all the rage when he was the epicenter of the Ferguson protests — but now that his life is literally hanging in the balance — nobody gives a fuck.

Not even Twitter Moments?

It’s hard to comprehend why this story isn’t circulating at a furious tempo — especially when the circumstances demand the level of interest that reporters normally reserve for exactly this types of developments. The sensitivity around something that is still a mystery is understandable and should be adhered to — but that shouldn’t prevent outlets from trying to piece together the bits we’ve been fed — especially since three kids are still missing — and one of them happens to be Devonte Hart.

And the most startling criminal act is the gross negligence of those who suspected the worst and didn’t do enough to help. And the justice system that never gives a fuck about Black people — to the point that they willingly dismiss serious charges against a White woman — their supposed caretaker — which allowed her to legally keep those kids in bondage — long enough for the unthinkable to happen.

It’s hard to choose what’s most maddening — the horror of the last moments of six children of color who may have been killed on purpose or the media’s inability to perform its duties accordingly — with the gusto that kept past eras in check.

I’ll take both.

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