"There Were Good Times"

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

You know, people say necessity is the mother of invention. But that's not always true. Sometimes the mother of invention is advertising. Yeah. Or pure accident. How about ego maniacal delusion? Absolutely. Or just a desperate longing. To be cool. I'm Robert lamb, and I'm Joe McCormick. You're the host of the science podcasts stuff to blow your mind. And now we're branching off into the exploration of invention. Invention is the story of human history told one piece of technology at a time the things we made and how they made us invention publishes every Monday, listen and subscribe to invention on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you find your podcasts. A November eight two thousand eighteen our field reporter Lawrence Miley made the four hour drive from San Francisco to the Mendocino cliff where the heart family died. I'm sitting here at the remorseful on the edge of the bluff, there's a wooden cross and on we honor. And remember you love from your Dopp brothers and sisters from around the world adoptees deserve better. Hashtag adoptive voices. They're six stuffed animals lined up in a row a lion. Bear a monkey another bear tau bedraggled teddy bear there. And in front of the stones that have the kids names on them to Bonn Tae Hannah Abigail, Marcus Sierra, Jeremiah. It's right on the edge of the bluff year, there's just the sheer straight drop. In video she captured that day, you can see the makeshift memorial. She described it's a colorful pile of rock formations fresh flowers and teddy bears covered in a thin coating of dust. There's a wooden sculpture of a heart with wings bearing the handwritten inscription. Please take care of yourselves and others lives are not for the taking the teal. Green sea churns blow. As we sit down to record. This final episode. It has been eight months since the crash in that stretch of time. I just dean have found out that I'm expecting my second child and now weeks away from giving birth. It's been surreal to watch the rough sketch of human life take form while also contemplating the lives of six children who will never get to grow up. Some days we feel like we know Marcus Hanna devante Abigail, Jeremiah. And Sierra that in telling this story, we are honoring them at other times. We feel dirty as if accounting the gruesome but incomplete details of their short lives makes us grave robbers for Lauren who has spent countless hours reaching out to the people closest to the heart family and his endured her share of slammed doors. It's been an especially strange journey is coming up here. I felt like this sense of dread as I got closer and closer to this area. It's been so many months, I've been looking into every last lead that I could find calling so many people some who are to me many wooden requesting all these documents. It's been so much. Six months down and to actually come to the spot where the story both began for me and ended for them. It just so much anxiety about it honestly in sort of feeling of dread about it. In April two thousand nineteen a full year after the crash. A formal coroner's inquest will be released to the public at that time jury will convene to decide whether this was a murder by one person a conspiracy to murder by more than one person or an accident. And then in so many ways it will be over. From glamour and how stuff works. This is broken hearts. I'm Justin Harman, and I'm Liz Egan. Darah lot of people whose voices we tried. But were ultimately unable to include in this podcast in November two thousand eighteen over the course of three consecutive days and after several months of outreach Lawrence spoke with Sarah's father, Alan ganglia. He decided not to go on the record. We also reached out to Sara's brother, Matt. But did not hear back jen's parents. And her brother Christopher Hart declined to speak to us. Her other brother, Jonathan says, his older sister has not been in his life since two thousand ten and wanted only to make a few things clear in an Email to Lorant on September twenty fifth two thousand eighteen Jonathan wrote one thing I would like to clarify for myself, and my family is that Jen was not ousted from the family for being gay. I have been openly gay even in high school, and it never affected me living in my mom or dad's home, he continued. If anything all this time, my family did nothing but try to help and understand Jen not work against her two months after he sent that Email Jonathan spoke with us over the phone. He doesn't want his voice on this podcast. But he gave us permission to relate the following. Nobody has done anything to warrant this. He says all I have seen my whole life is her getting my parents, grandparents anybody jumping through hoops to give her what she wanted. And that's all I can say people loved her. They really stuck up for her. It really hurts me when this stuff gets reflected on my parents that really hurts my feelings. My mother is wonderful, and she did put up with a lot from my sister. We all did. Sources close to the gambler told us the family had not been in touch with Sarah for a long time. But it was Sarah's choice to cut off contact the distance. One says had nothing to do with them rejecting. Sarah's sexuality. Back in August, two thousand eighteen Lauren connected with Hannah Scott a professor of criminology at the university of on -tario institute of technology who has spent a lot of time studying the psyche of women who commit heinous crimes. In addition to her work is a criminologist Victimologists Scott is the author of one of the only known studies on female family annihilates or women who killed our children, and or their spouses, she said she wasn't surprised to hear that Jenin Sarah fiercely controlled who had access to them and the kids she was however surprised by the way, Jen used Facebook to maintain a facade of a million bliss in the case of use of person. And it's clear that either one or both of the parents was family were abusive, the outward impression management using social media is kind of an interesting twist. Although most people now are using social, but nobody. Really looked at the abuse of partner and how they negotiate their identity. We assume that people who are are abusive bows in their of lives, but also in their public lives, and we know this now not to be true. Many people who are abusive in their private lives are well respected in their communities and not considered abusive in this is problematic for us. It's inconsistent. And I think is human beings we like to see consistency. If you want to continue to abuse and have access to victims in your family, these acts of private violence have to be managed because if you do anything outside the house that might alert people to that you're abusive, you may lose your -bility to continue to. Or in this case, I suspect loose-knit Bill to raise the children in a way that they felt was appropriate and not need active by other people. And in when we say about way, certainly we can understand all parents understand that they should raise their children in a way that they feels appropriate. Scott says that female annihilates are vastly understudied demographic. And a lot of that has to do with the fact that we as a culture have a hard time believing that a woman or women would kill their own children started to go through the literature. We had discussions and we pursued this idea as women in criminology, which is largely a male dominated disciplined with a lot of male focus in patriarchal values. We started understand. There was something that was missing when reverse writings was looking at female serial killer, which at the time when I started my writing way back in the day didn't exist, according to many people. And so I spent a lot of times how Jane those now. Thank yes. They do exist. Exist large numbers, the monikers that pretend to to women broken zero en mass homicide giggling granny's things like that murdering moms these are very sexist than we compared to the names that the men are given we tend to make light of the fact that women being Gaijin these ads and as often we go Pursley, we don't take them. Seriously. It's something to keep in mind. When considering that cryptic note from Minnesota child welfare worker after the first incident of abuse was reported back in two thousand eight the problem. It said is these women look normal. Though Hannah Scott has never seen a case quite like this one that continued abuse across several states makes it unique and there has been little research on same sex domestic violence. She has seen incidents of women who killed their families with what might sound like a counter intuitive motivator. Love the woman and her children are often separated and living in a separate welling or have left with mouse and are living in another place even temporarily they killed her children because they couldn't see them being raised by the opposite parent, for example, or they couldn't see themselves actually sustaining these children now that they were alone. We haven't found convincing evidence that Jenin Sarah were headed toward a break-up. Or as we explored in the previous episode that there was some catastrophic future event on the horizon, but their relationship had been strained over the years. They had spent months of time apart gen would often travel with some or all of the children while Sarah would stay home to work. Sara was this whole breadwinner and money was tight. Gen wants emailed a friend that she and Sarah express themselves in different ways. She wrote for quite some time. I have felt very under appreciated and taken for granted in our relationship and at times on loved. While I know deep in my heart how much she loves me. She is just horrible about showing it we are complete opposites in this regard. The Email continued I never miss an opportunity to tell someone how much they mean to me. And that I love them. As a mom. I have felt that I've been raising the kids on my own. She admits this to while she loves them with all her heart. She has not been fully present with me or the kids. The last known footage of Sarah Hart is of her leaving Coles at five twenty four PM on March twenty third two thousand eighteen three days before the crash and mere seven minutes before child protective services arrived at their home. She's wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt pulled over her head and is cutting her cellphone. It's impossible to know what was going through her head or if she knew what was about to happen. It's impossible to know what she and Jen did or didn't talk about over the course of the next few days. But Hannah Scott says the unimaginable might have seemed well logical to these women could be overwhelmed or not necessarily experiencing mental illness. In some cases, homicide union the week ill comfortable saying, it can be very rational choice to some people even they're like circumstances. Serial killers. Don't make any effort to involve the media or investigators. They're very secretive. They don't want to tension. They almost want their crimes to go unnoticed, but the idea of committing a crime, and then calling the police and bragging about it. That's a whole 'nother level of terror. Dear editor, this is only speaking if you do not print this cipher by the afternoon of Friday, first of August that will go on a kill rampage Friday night L cruise around all weekend killing people in the night and move on to kill again. The best part of it is that when I die be reborn in paradise. And all that I have killed will become my slates. The creators of Atlanta monster come season two. This is monster zodiac killer. Listen and subscribe at the podcasts or on the iheartradio app. When Lauren met with Mendocino county sheriff Tom Allman, he reiterated what he said many times before he is no longer viewing this incident as an accident. He holds out very little hope that devante will be found alive. Hope I guess I have hope do I have any realistic hope knowing the fact that there's been no indication he's alive should cause someone to say, well, he was in a car. But I have no problem of someone bringing devante into our office today and saying listen devante is alive. And well, he was just hiding out. I'd give the kid of of and say, we've never met as very nice to meet you sheriff Allman and his team have spent the past eight months trolling the coastline for the missing children examining the evidence, they do have and preparing for the upcoming coroner's inquest all says an inquest of this nature hasn't happened in Mendocino county in over fifty years. But. According to the law its function is to inquire into and determine the circumstances manner. And cause of all violent sudden or unusual deaths over the course of two days in April. A jury of twelve citizens will rule what the cause of death was for all the bodies found at the crash site. Sheriff omen says he hopes to livestream the event in order to put the questions to bed once and for all job. Due to find out the truth of what happened. We have gathered a team of experts that will be making sure that what we're going to say the Enquist is a hundred percent true accurate, and a coroner's inquest is going to in my opinion, give evidence that will shock the consciousness of people who are following his case. What what can you give not that? I'm not gonna talk about any of that. I'm gonna tell you that we're not on a fast time line to throw. This information out right now, this will be a water cooler conversation throughout our nation for those who were critical of how long it took to positively ID Hannah's remains almond says DNA simply isn't something you can match overnight. I think that TV has presented a false narrative to viewers regarding how easy it is to get the compared to fingerprints fair prints were really good. If you know what fingerprint comparative, I've taken I'm going to guess, hundreds of thousands of burglar reports were fingerprints were obtained. But if you don't have anybody to compare them to okay. So you have fingerprints Indiana's same way, if we have DNA from a foot, and we all right, gosh, we have the results if we don't have anybody to compare them to then it's same as a fingerprint. These he's children were adopted, and we didn't have a lot of information. So it wasn't an easy. Tacit has the biggest hold up in. This case has been trying to get information from the adoption agencies. The fact that long forcement has been stymied. Ed finding out information regarding the adoption records and the. Count ability of foster parents should turn a lot of people whether or not this was a crime or an accident when it happened. I don't think laws. Worthless should have been told. No by adoption organizations said we're not going give you that information prior to this case happening. I had no idea the amount of confidentiality that adoption agencies focused while I don't want to disrupt somebody's life with Dr records when a death happens. I would have to ask myself. Why would it adoption agency or government agency fee? So determined to keep information private so how much of what happened to the her children can be put on the agencies tasked with making sure youngest citizens are being looked after properly Dr doors, Houston, the interim director at the Illinois state University School of social work points to the lack of interstate communication between all parties. She also. Eagles at the state of Texas from where all six children were adopted as keen to terminate parental rights and collect placement fees from the government on average. She says a family the hearts could stand to collect twelve hundred dollars a month for each adopted child. We have found that over the past decade the hearts have taken roughly two hundred seventy thousand dollars from the state of Texas taxpayer dollars that are being spent to support children. Why can't we then expect that families would be expected to lease do an annual check? And maybe go for the first few years ago to some of the support groups. I was surprised at find that Texas essentially has a standard of atomatic -ly, preparing the paperwork for adoption. It makes it difficult to envision the effort is really being put into family reunification. Shen if from day one that is the policy to begin to prepare children for adoption, Dr Houston says once in interstate adoption is completed the state of origin is no longer responsible for an adopted child wellbeing with Texas allowing the children adopted in Minnesota, they essentially are evolved of all of those responsibilities is now rack that the hands of the receiving state, frankly, there really has not been movement in any real meaningful way to do a national adoption protection registry. Where information is shared Hannah. Scott, the author of the study on an island. There's calls these interstate disconnect linkage blindness a term coined by criminal Justice expert, Stephen Edgar my still do have trouble in the United States. Finding individuals who both move. Frequently and him or commit serial crime, sometimes cities, don't even time other. But state certainly have more difficulty talking to each other each day as its own set of laws. We know that there were eight people who reported to the place that there was a use of situation. This happened over ten years in three states and once the family came tactic. They moved to another state this stop the process of investigation one St. and allowed them reprieved to some degree in the new states that they had moved to because the states cannot talk to each other cases of child abuse. Like this can go into -tective as long as the family continues to say. April Dinwiddie, the former executive director of the Donaldson adoption institute agrees that this story is should serve as a nationwide. Wakeup call. I can't for families to adopt it transracial in. And I I talked about that case being a cautionary tale of how broken the system can be. And how important it is for us all to be taking care of ourselves and doing well. And and getting the help that we need and getting the help for ourselves and our children, and I talked about it at another sort of gathering of professionals some were treasury adoptive parents. And and there's a lot of head paying and a lot of tears and people are failing. But I hope that just translates into more action and more is wide open with some of the real challenges that the system faces and quite frankly that that people face, look, I didn't know the hearts, I don't I don't know what drills these women. To to do to Dopp to whatever. But like there was something clearly wrong there too. And even those people who do such things need to have some kind of care and support as well. White like, they just don't get erased either. There's mental health issues in all of this that need to be addressed. That clearly were not ours is found like when I talked to friends and mothers in particular. The everyone has something to say about this case, everyone, honestly, read something about their own life into this case and feels guilty about that. And even you know does like a mom his biological child. And she was just like, yeah. That case just made me look in the mirror and realize how much just utter power you have over young children, and how just guile list, they are you're all they have in those early years, and it made me almost scared of my own power that I have a parent. There's so many layers so many layers. The power of being a parent is something we rarely talk about in our daily lives. But it's something most of us with kids understand in our bones. Sometimes when I took my two year old in at night. He recently graduated from sleeping in a crib to a twin size. He gives me this look like I'm gonna get out of this bed. And I give him another one. That says don't you dare? And he doesn't he doesn't there? What is strange influence to have over another person? But what if I pushed it a little further? What if I told him that something bad would happen to him? If he got out of bed. What if and this is honestly hard for me to say out loud? What if I held him down until it hurt? How long would you stay in? There would you love me any less or would his devotion to me become stronger. More desperate would he wonder what he could do to make it? Go back to the way it used to be back to when I would line his little bit without a blanket and cuddle him until he foes sleep, even though I'm. Impossibly pregnant, and it hurts my back. How much would his mind go into overdrive trying to get that feeling and that dynamic back, and how would he process that nearly imperceptible shift years later? As Justin has been transitioning her sweet flaxen-haired two year old from crib to a twin bed. I've spent the past eight months, wrapping my mind around the fact that I'm moving closer to the opposite end of the parenting spectrum. My oldest is almost eighteen almost Marcus age. If all goes, according to plan, she'll be attending college next fall. I think she's ready whether or not I'm ready is another story. But I'll say goodbye to her knowing that my husband, and I did our best to give her the tools she'll need to be successful on her own. She has a strong moral, compass. She knows what she deserves. And how to ask for it. She knows more about the battle of Gettysburg than I ever did. And she also knows not to stick a fork and a toaster. I share this because I suspect Jen, and or Sarah knew their kids weren't as well equipped for adult hood as they should have been at the very least. They had hardly any experience interacting with other people their own age. This supposed to scare Jenin, Sarah. Even though they were the ones who put their kids in this position in the first place who held him down in way, similar to the one. Justin, just described. I think the best thing you can do is give your kids firm ground under their feet, and the heart kids never really had that not as babies not when they were adopted not even in the moments before they died. I'm Aaron Casten. I'm Jonathan Strickland and together we're going to tell you the stories behind some of the biggest triumphs in failures in business. That's right. We're going to explore situations that tested the metal entrepreneurs pivotal moments required making decisions. We'll be talking about some big companies that everybody knows like Disney LEGO and Harley Davidson and together we try to answer the question. What do you do when you find yourself at the brink? Listen and subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app or wherever you listen to your podcasts. You'll remember that back in may when we first started reporting the story Lauren went to woodland Washington there the hearts neighbor Dana DeKalb took her to see where the family lived together. Lauren and Dana waded through the knee, high prairie grass to get to the blue split level home next door when I was up at daynuss house in Washington. I asked the dekalb's of a walk over to the heart property, the agreed. And we walked down the gravel driveway and the cut into the knee high grass up to the light Blue House. A FedEx delivery notice was still stuck on the front door dated a month after the crash Dana I peeked through slits in the blinds. The living room was sparse. Except for a few chairs inside the garage were Christmas, tree box and electric, piano. Some Star Wars puzzles in some ways I felt like I was walking onto the set of a play after the production had wrapped all around. I recognized. Things from jen's Facebook posts there in a shed was lawnmower. Devante ridden with a stock of grass in his mouth like the image of farmer. Joe? There was the temporary greenhouse now in a heap that Abigail had stood in front of smiling with a chicken on her shoulder. I spotted an ornament hanging from a tree and walked over to look at it. It was a ceramic Volkswagen hippie van with flower power details which was so early spot onto the image of the family projected and the way they died. I wondered if some prankster had hung it. Or if the heart sad. I turned it over and saw the price tag was still stuck on the bottom. Ross dress for less seven ninety nine. Walking around the huge yard. I couldn't help. But question my role as a reporter. And all this certainly I was trust passing a both the property and in this family story, I hope that it was right to be here. Looking for any clues as to why those six kids were no longer year. The hunting feeling was nothing compared to daynuss. She stuck an unwinnable loop. Should she have called CPS sooner? Wasn't it that very phone call that said into motion the events that ended with a Yukon over a cliff? Each time. The conversation turns the subject daynuss voice gross thick with grief. If she call earlier, she wonders with the outcome be the same. Who knows? She says who could have guessed that. Dana and both had a question. Just what did it look like on a daily basis inside that house? Dana said, something that stuck in my mind. You know, I guess I wanna believe that. There was good times. But it wasn't constant a gli after all of our research after so many months of digging for certain facts this remains one of the hardest things to come to terms with. There were good times. It wasn't constant ugly. Jen, heart loved her kids and she killed them these realities. Coexist, we know this because we've seen the pictures we've watched joy filled videos, zippy Lomax doesn't wanna share with the public. At least not yet. We've read hundreds of emails texts and direct messages. We spoke into their friends and families for hours on end. We also know this because this story has made us X. Avait the darkest part of our own minds and address issues thoughts and behaviors we've neatly packed away as unfit or not for public consumption. The story of the Hart family was never going to end. Well, as one person close to them put it I've always known. I've always felt something. It's unfortunate that it happened. But I don't think that there's anybody out there that could have stopped it from happening. They had no support system. They had no contingency plan. They distance themselves from their families kept friends at an arm's length preferably on the other side of screen and close their blinds, unconcerned neighbors when schools social services the medical community and the festival community asked questions they were able to use their white privilege to foster doubt and convince people they were normal parents when anybody got too close, Jen, and Sarah withdrew they canceled plans or relocated or move the conversation to Facebook where Jen could control the narrative this was their choice. In the end, they were alone and they made so many mistakes unforgivable mistakes. Gen and Sarah Hart were in awe of Marcus Hanna. Devante Abigail, Jeremiah. And Sierra they also each in her own way, stripped their six adopted children of their agency there dignity and the futures. They deserved. At best. You might call these women anti heroes at worst. They were monsters. But neither is the whole story because what they actually were is even harder to accept. They were both. If you suspect to child is being abused. Call one eight hundred four a child that's one eight hundred numeral four A C H I L D or visit child help dot org to find out how to report your concerns. For access to exclusive photos and videos and documents about the case, visit glamour dot com slash broken hearts have questions for us about this podcast reach us on Twitter at glamour, amac or at broken hearts pot. If you like what you heard leave us a review broken hearts is a joint production between glamour and how stuff works with new episodes dropping every Tuesday broken hearts is co hosted and co written by Justin Harman and Elizabeth Egan and edited by Wendy uncle Lawrence. Miley is our field. Reporter Samantha berry is glamorous editor in chief, Julie shed and Deanna buckman head up the business side of this partnership. Joyce Pendle, Pat singer and Luke Celeski our research team Jason Hoke is executive producer on behalf of how stuff works along with producers, Julian Weller, Ben key, brick and Josh state special. Thanks, jen. Lance. Serial killers. Don't make any effort to involve media or estimators, very secretive. They don't want to tension. They almost want their crimes to go on notice. But the idea of committing a crime, and then calling the police and fragging about it. That's a whole 'nother level of terror. A man who wore a mediaeval style executioner's hood, please and baffled. The media seems to crave publicity. He's letters and Ramsden's papers and bully subject stated, I want to report a murder. No, a double murder. I did it. Here. We are fifty years to the first sodium killing in today's world of friends, the old cases are being solved who doesn't wanna know how it turns out. The creators of Atlanta monster come season two. This is monster zodiac killer. Listen as subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app.

Coming up next