Authorities Find Two More Bodies of Valencia Family Vanished

Bodies of 3 family members who traveled in SUV found in California river

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

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office says that around 4 p.m. Monday, searchers found the body of a boy submerged in the Eel River about 6 miles downstream from where the SUV crashed. The remains of a third family member have also been recovered.

Searchers yesterday found the body of Siddhant Thottapilly, the last to be found after the family of four went missing. Crews partially removed the vehicle with a tow truck and recovered the bodies, the sheriff's office said.

Crews searching for a family whose vehicle plunged into a rain-swollen Northern California river more than a week ago have found the sport utility vehicle and the bodies of a man and a girl inside, authorities said yesterday.


The Thottapilly family-Sandeep, Soumya, their daughter Saachi and their 12-year-old son Siddhant-were traveling from Portland, Oregon, to San Jose when they "suddenly stopped communicating with family in Valencia" on April 5. On April 15, The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Division was able to identify the adult female recovered from the Eel River as being Soumya Thottapilly. They had been traveling south from OR along Highway 101 when the incident occurred, officials said.

"At approximately 4:00 PM water searchers located the body of a juvenile male submerged in the Eel River approximately 6 miles north of the reported crash site", it said.

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. A tow truck then removed the vehicle, which was encased in a large amount of sediment. The river was swollen from recent storms and officials had to wait several days for it to recede. According to the statement, the search consisted of 21 water searchers which included 2 Jet Ski teams, 2 Boat teams and several Kayak/Carlson board teams.

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