Houston aunt shocked to learn adopted kids killed in California cliff crash

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's a shocking story: A couple adopts six children only to drive them over a cliff off the California coast.

Now we're learning even more about their past, riddled with abuse allegations, and that three of those kids were from the Houston area.

Devonte and his two siblings were removed from their Houston family nearly a decade ago.

At the time, they lived with their aunt. Her attorney only knew they were given to a couple in Minnesota.

She hasn't heard anything about the kids until this week, when she realized they were in the SUV that went off a California cliff.

Authorities say Jennifer and Sarah's SUV sped off a California cliff a couple weeks ago. Both were found dead.

The couple's six adopted children were also believed to be in the SUV, and killed in the crash.

Houston attorney Shonda Jones says three of the kids - Devonte, Jermiah, and Ciera - were from Houston. She represented their aunt.

Although it's been a decade, the case still bothers her because she never felt the kids should've been removed.

"When you try to work hard to keep families together and something this tragic occurs, it's very disturbing," Jones said.

The kids were removed from their parents because of drugs.

"I cannot understand why," Jones said. "It was like something in my soul that was telling me to hold on."

The kids' aunt still lives in Houston.

"When I saw the names, and I had spoken to my client the day before, she remembered Ciera, and I said, 'Oh my God!' When I read the article, I said, 'That's them,'" Jones said.

The allegations and shocking story has hit Jones hard.

"I know my intentions were pure, and I wanted to do the right thing," Jones said.

A painful thought not just for her.

Jones says her former client is struggling to make sense of this tragedy.

"She's having a very hard time, in my opinion, accepting what has happened," Jones said. "I think she hears it, but she doesn't want to believe it."

Jones never met the kids, but she does know of them.

Devonte made national headlines during a Portland protest over police violence when he hugged a white officer.

The makings of a great young man. She wishes he and his two siblings got to enjoy more of life.

"It's just hard," Jones said. "It's very hard."

As for the accident, police have been able to identify three of the kids.

They're waiting on an autopsy for a fourth body discovered, but they've not been able to locate the final two bodies.
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