Authorities Identify Three Bodies Belonging to Missing California Family

Authorities Identify Three Bodies Belonging to Missing California Family

They were reported missing April 8 after failing to show up for family visit in San Jose. Recovery efforts continued for several hours and at approximately 6:30 p.m. the vehicle was partially removed from the Eel River by use of a tow truck.

On Friday, searchers found the body of Soumya Thottapilly, the 38-year-old wife of Sandeep and mother of Saachi, and made a positive identification of the remains on Sunday.

Photo Searchers last week along the Eel River in Northern California.

Search teams have recovered the last member of a Southern California family of four who went missing more than a week ago while driving home from OR, officials said.

- A tragic turn in the search for a Southern California family whose auto crashed in the Eel River in Mendocino County. Searchers found a vehicle submerged between 4-6 feet under the water.

Authorities recovered the bodies of 2 members of the Thottapilly family on Sunday from the Eel River. The smell of gasoline coming from the water led divers to the vehicle, which was covered in sediment and resting at least four feet underwater, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. The search consisted of 21 water searchers, which included two jet-ski teams, two boat teams and several Kayak/Carlson board teams.


Cindy Bartley, assistant to Chief Deputy Coroner Shannon Barney, told India-West that the bodies of Sandeep, Soumya, and Saachi are now with the coroner's office.

The family was on their way back to their Santa Clarita home after a road trip where they stopped in Portland.

Sandeep and family was in a maroon Honda Pilot with a California registration plate (7MMX138) and had last got in touch with their family in Surat on April 5. He grew up in Surat, Gujarat, and settled down in the United States over 15 years ago, a relative said.

The Klamath River and a string of parks lie along Highway 101, north of where motorists saw the SUV fall into the river.

Farther south, authorities were still looking for the missing members of a different family whose SUV plunged off a towering ocean bluff along the Pacific Coast Highway last month.

Carpenter also said that Sarah Hart and two of the couple's children had "a significant amount" of an ingredient found in Benadryl in their system, the Associated Press reported. Authorities say they believe the crash was intentional. Three of the children have not been found.

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