Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Indian Family Missing: US Search Teams Recover Bodies of Man, Wife, Daughter

Indian Family Missing: US Search Teams Recover Bodies of Man, Wife, Daughter

The bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, and Saachi Thottapilly, 9, were found inside, officials said. Mr. Thottapilly and his daughter were found inside a vehicle in about four to six feet of water.

The body of an adult female that was found in the river last Friday has been identified as 38-year-old Soumya Thottapilly, the statement said. Investigators said that vehicle may have been intentionally driven off the cliff. Crews partially removed the auto with a tow truck and recovered the bodies of the father and daughter, the sheriff's office said.

Soumya Thottapilly was found in an area previously covered with water from the storm-swollen river.

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The body was found a day after the auto with Siddhant's father and younger sister inside were pulled from the river sediment.

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. They were reported missing April 8 after failing to show up for a visit with relatives in San Jose.

Rescue workers have been using helicopters, boats equipped with sonar, kayaks and river boards. At approximately 11:30 a.m. a boating team noticed a gasoline smell coming from the water approximately a half-mile north of the reported crash site (down stream) along Highway 101 south of Dora Creek in Leggett.

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Soon thereafter, search divers entered the water and were able to feel what they believed to be a person inside of the vehicle.

"Visibility was extremely poor and divers noted the vehicle was encased in a large amount of sediment from the river current", Capt. Gregory L. Van Patten, field services commander of the sheriff's office, said in the 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. The family member told police he had not heard from the Thottapillys since April 6, which was unusual for the family.

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The Thottapilly family was driving a maroon Honda Pilot with California plate 7MMX138.

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