California: SUV of missing Indian family of four crashed off cliff, bodies recovered from river
Investigators searching for a missing Indian family in Northern California found the body of a 12-year-old boy – the last of four members who died after their car plunged into the rain-swollen Eel river.
The family — Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, his wife Soumya Thottapilly, 38, and their two kids Siddhanth, 12 and Saachi, 9 — were on a road trip when they reportedly went missing on April 5. Siddhant’s body was found submerged in the Eel River about 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) downstream from where the family car reportedly crashed, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Gregory L. Van Patten said in a statement.
On Sunday, the officials found the sports utility vehicle with bodies of Sandeep and Saachi inside. The smell of gasoline about a half-mile (1 kilometer) downstream from where the crash was reported, led the investigators to the car. Soumya’s body was found on Friday miles from the crash site in an area previously covered with water from the storm-swollen river.
The family was traveling from Portland, Oregon and was supposed to make a stop at San Jose to meet a friend, before heading to their home in Los Angeles. They, however, failed to show up at the friend’s place on April 6 and were officially declared as missing on April 8. The investigation was initially hampered by continuous rains in the area. As the waters receded, the rescue team recovered some personal items and numerous parts of the vehicle, a maroon Honda Pilot, believed to be driven by the family.