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Bodies of Thottapilly family members located in Eel River

17 April 2018

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.

Authorities searching for a family whose SUV plunged into a rain-swollen Northern California river have found the vehicle and the body of a man and a girl inside it.

It was discovered the vehicle with 41-year-old Sandeep Thottapilly, 38-year-old Soumya Thottapilly, 12-year-old Siddhant Thottapilly and 9-year-old Saachi Thottapilly inside had gone off a cliff in Mendocino County. It was then that searchers recovered the bodies of Sandeep and Sacchi Thottapilly. Sheriff: Body found after California family's SUV went into riverThe Mendocino County Sheriff says the SUV was found 4-6 feet beneath the water.

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A search team on a boat smelled gasoline about a half-mile (1 kilometer) downstream from where the crash was reported and found the Honda Pilot underwater, authorities said. This provided searchers the ability to conduct a visual inspection of the inside of the vehicle.

According to the San Jose Police Department, the Thottapilly family was supposed to have arrived to visit a friend in the San Jose area on April 6 but did not make it as scheduled. "Visibility was extremely poor and divers noted the vehicle was encased in a large amount of sediment from the river current", he said. They soon found the vehicle, and divers reported feeling what they believed to be a person inside. 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.

The family was last heard from in Del Norte County and was reported missing by family members in San Jose on April 8.

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The office also said the body of an adult female found in the Eel River on Friday has been identified as 38-year-old Soumya Thottapilly.

"Several items have been positively identified, by family members, as belonging to the Thottapilly family", it said.

The family's maroon SUV was seen falling into the river in northern Mendocino County from a pullout during an April 6 rainstorm.

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Bodies of Thottapilly family members located in Eel River