Who Is Devonte Hart? After California Cliff Crash, Boy From Viral Ferguson Photo Missing

A child whose image went viral after he was captured in a photograph during a demonstration against police violence is missing after a horrific car crash in California. Devonte Hart's picture made headlines in 2014 after a photographer captured him embracing a police officer during a demonstration over the decision not to press charges in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The photo of Devonte, taken by Johnny Ngyuen in downtown Portland and published first by The Oregonian, showed the then 12-year-old with tears in his eyes hugging a police officer at the rally.

Devonte had been carrying a sign offering free hugs at the time.

"I was trying to show peace, that there was a different way to handle it," he said in 2015 of the demonstration, according to The Oregonian.

Newsweek subscription offers >

Another photo of the boy posted in 2015 showed him clad in a shirt reading in part "love is the answer" and holding a sign saying: "The real revolution begins from within. Be the light in the darkness, choose love."

Newsweek subscription offers >

Authorities said Devonte was missing after five other members of his family were killed when their car plunged off a cliff near Mendocino in Northern California on Monday. Two adults, identified as Sarah Hart and Jennifer Hart, both 38, and three children, were killed.

The family's car reportedly went over a cliff on the Pacific Coast Highway. The children were not wearing seatbelts and were ejected from the car, while the women were found inside, California Highway Patrol said.

Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said Wednesday that while only three children were found inside the car, authorities believed six children, including Devonte, were actually inside the vehicle.

"We have every indication to believe that all six children were in there," Allman said, according to Reuters. "However, only three bodies have been recovered."

Investigators were still looking for the remaining bodies.

Authorities had not yet determined what caused the crash, though they said the weather was clear and they did not think alcohol or drugs were a factor. Allman said the car traveled about 75 feet along a dirt pullout on the roadside before it went over a 100-foot cliff. No brake marks or skid marks were found on the pathway, he said.

After the crash, reports emerged that Child Protective Services had tried to visit the family a number of times in recent days. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services said the "now deceased children were identified as potential victims of alleged abuse or neglect," according to CNN.

"We have not made any findings in this investigation and we had no prior history with this family," the department said, according to CNN. "We are working with all involved law enforcement agencies on their respective investigations."

Who Is Devonte Hart? After California Cliff Crash, Boy From Viral Ferguson Photo Missing | U.S.