Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Bodies of missing man, child found in submerged SUV

Bodies of missing man, child found in submerged SUV

The body of Siddhant Thottapilly was found at about 4 p.m. submerged in the Eel River about 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) downstream from where the family vehicle reportedly crashed, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Capt. Gregory L. Van Patten said in a statement.

"Searchers subsequently recovered the bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly and Saachi Thottapilly from inside the vehicle", the Sheriff Office said adding that the autopsies are expected to be performed this week as part of the coroner's investigation into the incident. They were driving from Portland, Oregon to San Jose in Southern California. Witnesses in Mendocino County - the same Northern California locality where another family died last month after their auto was possibly driven off a cliff - reported seeing an SUV being swept away in a river.

Search crews on Sunday found the bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, and Saachi Thottapilly, 9, inside an SUV that was pulled from the Eel River in Leggett, Calif.

Searchers on Monday found the body of a 12-year-old boy in a Northern California river - the last of four family members who perished when their sport utility vehicle plunged into the rain-swollen torrent. A poster shared by friends and relatives on social media suggested that the SUV matched the Thottapilly family's vehicle. Inside the vehicle, which was recovered Sunday, were the bodies of 41-year-old Sandeep Thottapilly and his 9-year-old daughter, Saachi.

All four members of the Thottapilly family lived in Santa Clarita and had been on vacation when their maroon Honda Pilot was seen plunging into the Eel River by another motorist as the family was heading south on Highway 101 the afternoon of April 6. The family was officially reported as missing to the San Jose Police Department on April 8. The family was last heard from in the town of Klamath, Del Norte County, on April 5. About 6:30 pm a tow truck was able to partially pull the vehicle out and two bodies were found inside it. Soumya's body was found several miles from where the vehicle went into the water. The other three are feared to be dead.

Authorities said Friday Jennifer Hart, the driver, was intoxicated when she drove off the cliff.

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