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Boy From Viral Protest Photo Feared Dead After Family's Vehicle Drives Off A Cliff
4 weeks ago

Devonte Hart rose to internet fame in 2014 after a photo appeared online of the 12-year-old hugging Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum at a peaceful protest surrounding the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Today, Hart is reported missing after his families SUV was found at the bottom of a cliff along the Pacific Coast Highway. 

Police are reporting that Hart's parents Sarah and Jennifer Hart, were found dead in the vehicle along with siblings, Markis, 19, Abigail, 14, and Jeremiah, 14. Two of the other children, Hannah, 16, and Sierra, 12, along with Devonte can not be found. It is assumed they were in the car and ejected. The police continue the search in hopes of finding them.  

After the photo of Devonte went viral the family had a tough time with the new found fame. After receiving emailed death threats, the Harts moved from West Linn Oregon to rural Washington in a hopes to find peace and quiet. 

A family friend, Samatha Sinclair, spoke about the photo saying:

It put Devonte in the crosshairs of a lot of people, so to speak. It was such a beautiful photo, but not everyone saw it that way.

The investigation is ongoing. Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman had this to say:

We have no evidence and no reason to believe this was an intentional act.

There was an outpouring of love for the family on social media. 

In light of the tragedy, reports are coming forward that Child Protective Services was trying to get in touch with the family after neighbors accused the mothers of abuse and neglect. At this time it is unknown who filed the reports or if there was merit, but people have started reacting anyway. 

John Tierney, an executive producer for investigative and political stories for KGWN News tweeted this recap of what we know now—