Thottapilly Family

Thottapilly Family (Photo credit: Facebook)

Body Found Miles From Family Car Sighting In Mendocino County

April 13, 2018 - 3:52 pm

(KCBS Radio) - The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office says that rescue volunteers found a body on Friday that they assume to be a member of the Thottapilly family from Southern California that went missing coming home from Oregon last week.

Capt. Greg Van Patten said that rescue searchers looking for a vehicle seen going into the Eel River last week, which matched the description for the Thottapilly family car, when they came upon a body.

On Thursday items found in the river confirmed that it was their vehicle when relatives positively identified several of their belongings. 

None of the items were described in detail, Mendocino County deputies said.

The body was found seven miles downstream from the location where it was reported to the California Highway Patrol at 1:10 p.m. last Friday that a car went over a steep embankment on U.S. Highway 101 south of Dora Creek, north of Legett.

The county coroner is working on recovering the body, which Van Patten believed at 1:10 p.m. was still in the water.

Sandeep, 41, Soumya, 38, Siddhant, 12, and Saachi, 9, and their maroon Honda Pilot have been missing since last Thursday, the last time they were seen or heard from, according to CHP Garberville.

The family was heading home to Santa Clarita from a vacation in Portland, Oregon, and was last seen in Klamath in Del Norte County. A relative in San Jose called the city's police department on Sunday when they still had not shown up for a visit that was supposed to take place Friday, officers said.

Severe weather conditions hindered search efforts until Tuesday, when a dive team was able to search riverbanks and do limited probing underwater with a long pole, according to Mendocino County deputies.

The rescue teams have been using inflatable boats, river boards and a jet boat with a side scan sonar system and had canvassed 12 miles of the riverbank by Tuesday, the sheriff's office said.

A news release is forthcoming once the body is retrieved from the river and the coroner briefs deputies about the details of the incident.

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