Woman who drove SUV off California cliff was drunk, police say

Hide Caption Show Caption The Thottapilly family has been missing since April 6

Hide Caption Show Caption The Thottapilly family has been missing since April 6

Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that has a sedative effect.

Officials have said the crash may have been intentional, judging by software in the vehicle showing it stopped at a pull-off area before speeding off the cliff. A specialized team of accident investigators is trying to figure that out with help from the FBI, Carpenter said.

Sheriff Tom Allman said in a television interview earlier this month that Jennifer Hart "is the woman that we believe was driving the vehicle when it crashed". Five bodies were found March 26 near Mendocino, a few days after Washington state authorities began investigating the Harts for possible child neglect, but three of their children were not immediately recovered from the scene along the shoreline. According to the CHP, the crews were unable to find the vehicle or any people, but they found more items consistent with a Honda vehicle.

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"It appears she (Hart) was about 70 feet from the edge and accelerated from there", Carpenter said.

Two of the Hart children whose bodies have been recovered also had diphenhydramine in their system. Allman says DNA analysis from biological family members will be used to determine her identity. The neighbors said the children complained to them about being mistreated by their parents and asked for food, saying their parents withheld meals as punishment.

The department tried to contact the family at their home the day that it received the complaint, March 23, but were unsuccessful.

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Sarah Hart earlier had faced allegations of mistreatment in Minnesota, where she and Jennifer lived when the children were adopted about a decade ago from Texas.

And authorities have said social services officials in OR contacted the West Linn Police Department about the family in 2013 while they were living in the area.

While positive identification is pending, it is believed the body is that of Soumya Thottapilly, 38, who was on a road trip with her husband, Sandeep Thottapilly, 42, and their 12-year-old son Siddhant and 9-year-old daughter Saachi from Portland to San Jose, traveling in their maroon 2016 Honda Pilot SUV.

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Authorities responded to the river, but while they were unable to search the river at the time due to the weather conditions, they recovered a auto part that came from a maroon Honda Pilot, according to the CHP.

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