Bodies of Missing Valencia Father and Daughter Found in Flooded NorCal River

Smiling family sitting in bed together

Smiling family sitting in bed together

The family was traveling, headed home from vacation, when they went missing.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that they have found the bodies of 41-year-old Sandeep Thottapilly and 9-year-old Saachi Thottapilly after searchers located the SUV on Sunday in the Eel River.

On Friday, searchers found the body of Soumya Thottapilly, the 38-year-old wife of Sandeep and mother of Saachi, and made a positive identification of the remains on Sunday.

Mendocino County Sheriff Thomas Allman told a news conference that the body was found along the bank of Eel River, about seven miles (11 km) south of the spot where the police suspect their auto went missing.

A woman's body was found by rescuers in the United States during the search of a missing Indian family of four who are feared drowned in a swollen river in California, officials said. Searchers found a vehicle submerged between 4-6 feet under the water. In that case, Jennifer and Sarah Hart and three of their six children were found dead at the scene and three other children remain missing.

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Sandeep was a Vice-President at Union Bank, while Soumya was a stay-at-home parent. Investigators said that vehicle may have been intentionally driven off the cliff.

Search teams found the body of an adult woman on April 13, according to the statement. Earlier, speaking to TNM, Sandeep's paternal aunt, who also lives in Surat, had said that the couple's friends and relatives had launched a search operation to find the family. This provided searchers the ability to conduct a visual inspection of the inside of the vehicle. Authorities say they believe the crash was intentional.

"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. Autopsies are expected to be performed this week as part of the Coroner's investigation into the incident. A body was pulled from the surf April 7 but has not been identified.

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