Authorities Identify Three Bodies Belonging to Missing California Family

Kahauiki Village

Kahauiki Village

Now, the body of a child, believed to be one of the two missing, has been recovered in the river, authorities said today. The rescue teams had earlier last week found the body of a woman, who was identified as Soumya, and remains of the vehicle and the belongings of the Thottapilly family. "Several items have been positively identified, by the family members, as belonging to the Thottapilly family", it said.

About 11:30 a.m. Sunday, searchers found a vehicle submerged about four to six feet below the surface of the water, and about 6:30 p.m., the SUV was partially removed from the river by a tow truck and two bodies were found inside, according to the Mendicino County Sheriff's Office. Sandeep, along with his wife, Soumya, 38, and son Siddhant, 12, and daughter Saachi, went missing 10 days ago when they were driving from Portland, Oregon to San Jose in Southern California.

On Sunday, searchers found the bodies of 41-year-old Sandeep Thottapilly and his 9-year-old daughter, Saachi, inside the vehicle that was submerged in the Eel River.

On April 6, witnesses reported seeing a similar-looking vehicle falling off a steep embankment and into the Eel River off U.S. Route 101 near Leggett, a small camping and hiking destination in Northern California, authorities said.

It says the vehicle was encased in sediment but that divers were able to feel a person inside the auto.

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The Thottapillys were last heard from April 5. They were traveling from Portland to Los Angeles, when, it is suspected, that their auto veered off the road into the river on April 6, a rainy, windy day.

They were reported missing April 8 after failing to show up for a visit with relatives in San Jose.

The poster shared on Facebook described the family's vehicle as a maroon or burgundy 2016 Honda Pilot.

While the auto and the missing family have still not been found, the crews recovered vehicle parts and some of their personal items.

The incident happened about 30 miles from the area where another family's SUV plunged 100 feet down a cliff off the scenic Pacific Coast Highway and into the ocean. The other three are feared to be dead. Visibility was extremely poor and divers noted the vehicle was encased in a large amount of sediment from the river current, a media release said.

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