The photographed emotional embrace went viral after demonstrations that erupted over the shooting of a black man by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
The SUV he was travelling in with his two mothers and five siblings plunged off a scenic California highway and into the ocean, killing Jennifer and Sarah Hart, both 39, and their children Markis, 19, Jeremiah, 14, and Abigail Hart.
The other children, Hannah, 16, Devonte, and Sierra, 12, had not been found but are feared to have died. They all lived in Woodland, Washington, a small city outside Portland, Oregon,
Reports abound that child protection services had been investigating the family after concerns about their welfare.
Neighbors said they called child services Friday because they were concerned that Devonte Hart, who hugged the officer at the protest, was going hungry. He is reported to have been going over to a neighbor’s house asking for food.
In 2011, Sarah Hart pleaded guilty to a domestic assault charge in Minnesota. Her plea led to the dismissal of a charge of malicious punishment of a child, according to court records.