Human remains found near spot where SUV plunged off cliff

FILE - In this March 27, 2018, file photo provided by the California Highway Patrol a helicopter hovers over steep coastal cliffs near Mendocino, Calif., where a vehicle, visible at lower right, plunged about 100 feet off a cliff along Highway 1, killing all passengers. The SUV was carrying the Hart family, from Woodland, Wash. Authorities in Northern California say a resident found human remains inside a girl's shoe and a pair of jeans on a beach about 1 mile north from where a woman drove her large family off a cliff. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Department says a crew Thursday, May 10, 2018, will search the area in Westport, California, where the remains were found Wednesday. It says DNA tests will be conducted on a foot found inside the shoe to identify the remains. (California Highway Patrol via AP, File)

MENDOCINO, Calif. - A Northern California resident found a pair of jeans and human remains inside a girl's shoe on a beach near the spot where a woman drove her large family off a cliff in March, authorities said Thursday.

DNA tests will be conducted on the remains to try to identify who they belonged to, the Mendoncino County sheriff's department said.

A crew Thursday will search the area in Westport, California, where the remains were found a day earlier, it said.

Sarah and Jennifer Hart and their six adopted children were believed to be in the family's SUV when it plunged off a cliff in Mendocino County, more than 160 miles (250 kilometres) north of San Francisco. The location where the remains were found is about 1 mile (1.6 kilometres) north of where the SUV disappeared.

Five bodies were found March 26 but two girls and a boy were not immediately recovered.

A female body was found in the surf in April but has not been identified.

The FBI placed a boy and a girl on its missing persons list but investigators said they have no evidence indicating the two children are still alive and officials continue to search the ocean and nearby beaches.

Last month, officials said Jennifer Hart was drunk when she drove her large family off a cliff and her wife and several children had large amounts of a drug in their systems that can cause drowsiness.

Police have said that data from the vehicle's software suggested the crash was deliberate. They said the SUV had stopped at a coastal highway overlook before speeding straight off the cliff and plummeting 100 feet (31 metres) into the rocky Pacific Ocean below.

The crash happened just days after authorities in Washington state opened an investigation following allegations the children were being neglected.

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