Search teams on the Eel River in Mendocino County found the vehicle belonging to the missing four-member family from Valencia, and the bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, and Saachi Thottapilly, his 9-year-old daughter, on Sunday, according to officials.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Division has also identified the woman’s body recovered from the Eel River on Friday as being that of Soumya Thottapilly, Sandeep’s 38-year-old wife.
With three family members now accounted for, the search continues for the couple’s 12-year-old son, Siddhant.
The family was on a road trip from Portland to San Jose, traveling in their maroon 2016 Honda Pilot SUV, when the vehicle was reportedly seen plunging off of Highway 101 down an embankment into the rain-swollen Eel River on April 6.
The Thottapillys were reported missing by other family members on April 8, when search teams began looking.
Following updates on Thursday and Friday, here’s the Monday morning update from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office:
“On 04-15-2018 approximately 70 searchers were continuing Search & Rescue efforts on the Eel River in Leggett, California.
“The search consisted of 21 water searchers which included 2 Jet Ski teams, 2 Boat teams and several Kayak/Carlson board teams.
“At approximately 11:30 AM a boating team noticed a gasoline smell emitting from the water approximately 1/2 mile north of the reported crash site (downstream). The searchers began to probe the water and located a vehicle submerged approximately 4-6 feet beneath the water.
“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.
“Recovery efforts continued for several hours and at approximately 6:30 PM the vehicle was partially removed from the Eel River by use of a tow truck. This provided searchers the ability to conduct a visual inspection of the inside of the vehicle.
“Searchers subsequently recovered the bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly and Saachi Thottapilly from inside the vehicle.
“On 04-15-20018 the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Division was also able to identify the adult female recovered from the Eel River on 04-13-2018 as being Soumya Thottapilly.
“Autopsies are expected to be performed this week as part of the Coroner’s investigation into the incident.
“Another search operation will be conducted on 04-16-2018 in and around the Eel River in an attempt to locate Siddhant Thottapilly who still remains missing.”
“The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the following public safety agencies who assisted in the 04-15-2018 search:
* Marin County Fire Department
* Southern Marin Fire Department
* Kentfield Fire District
* Hopland Fire Department
* Rescue Solutions
* Piercy Volunteer Fire Department
* Leggett Volunteer Fire Department
* Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office
* Humboldt County Search & Rescue
* Napa County Search & Rescue
* Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue Team
* Little Lake Fire District
* Mendocino County Search & Rescue
* California Highway Patrol
* Graton Fire Department
* Santa Rosa Fire Department
* Sonoma Valley Fire Department
* Shasta County Sheriff’s Office
* Shasta County Search & Rescue.”