Authorities Identify Three Bodies Belonging to Missing California Family

Authorities Identify Three Bodies Belonging to Missing California Family

Authorities Identify Three Bodies Belonging to Missing California Family

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office says that search crews found the body of the last missing family member at around 4PM on Monday - that of 12-year-old Siddhant Thottapilly. Siddhant's body was found submerged in the Eel River about 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) downstream from where the family auto reportedly crashed, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Capt. Gregory L. Van Patten said in a statement.

The boy's mother, Soumya Thottapilly, 38, was found on Friday some way from the crash site in an area previously covered with water from the storm-swollen river. Numerous personal items were recovered by search personnel and with the help of family members, it was confirmed those recovered items belonged to members of the missing Thottapilly family. He was the last to be found, ABC-owned TV station KABC cited the authorities as saying. The Thottapillys were on a road trip to OR and were returning to their home in California, when the tragedy struck. They, however, failed to show up at the friend's place on April 6 and were officially declared as missing on April 8.

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Bodies of Thottapilly and his daughter were found inside the SUV lying submerged between 4 and 6 feet of water. Just before noon, searchers aboard a boat smelled gas coming from the water below, according to the statement.

The vehicle was encased in sediment and visibility was poor but divers believed there was at least one body inside, officials said.

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The boy's body was found about six miles north of where the family's vehicle was said to have crashed. The California Highway Patrol ruled out any foul play in the incident. The family's maroon SUV was seen falling into the river in northern Mendocino County from a pullout during a rainstorm. They had been travelling south from OR along Highway 101 when the incident occurred, officials said.

"At approximately 4 pm on April 16 water searchers located the body of a juvenile male submerged in the Eel River approximately 6 miles north of the reported crash site", the statement said.

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Last week, the rescue team had found the body of a woman, later identified to be that of Soumya, and remains of the vehicle and the belongings of the Thottapilly family.

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