The biological mother of three black children apparently killed when one of the abusive white women who adopted them drove off a cliff in California has broken her silence in an interview with The Oregonian.
Sherry Davis is the mother of Devonte Davis, later known as Devonte Hart, who was featured in a viral photo when he hugged a police officer at a protest held in the wake of the decision not to charge the police officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Davis was also the mother of two other children adopted by the Harts, Sierra and Jeremiah Hart. Jeremiah’s body was found in the car. Sierra is still missing but may be the body which washed to shore earlier this week. Devonte and another boy among the six are still missing but are believed to have been in the truck.
Authorities now saw the killing was not an accident. Jen Hart was drunk while Sarah Hart and the children had been drugged with the active ingredient in Benadryl. Their car was stopped at the edge of the cliff before plunging over with the speedometer “pinned” at 90, authorities say.
Sherry Davis, who lived in Texas and works as a home health care aid, never saw the viral image of her son and only learned of his fate after the fact.
David said that she battled cocaine addiction but has been clean for the last eight years. Moreover, she pointed out that her sister, the children’s aunt, had battled to have custody of them. The aunt lost custody after briefly leaving the children alone with their mother.
“They’re so quick to snatch [children] from people like us,” she said, “but once they’re adopted, they don’t even check on them?”
Sarah Hart was a convicted of child abuse after she beat one of her adopted children while living in Minnesota. After moving to Oregon and later Washington, the children had begged neighbors for food and said they had been starved as punishment. Just before the crash, a neighbor called Child Services, who showed up at their rural home and got no answer at the door. The Harts fled the next morning and drove off a cliff two days later.
Davis told the Oregonian that even when she was addicted to drugs, she fed, clothed and cared for her children. She always held at least one job during the time, she said.
“I don’t understand why they took the kids from my sister,” said the aunt who lost a custody battle, Clarence Celestine.
“And gave them to monsters,” Davis said.
Read the full feature here.