Bodies of Missing Indian Family Members Recovered from California River

Around 70 searchers had been looking for the missing Thottapilly family near the Eel River in Leggett, California.


The bodies of all four members of the missing Thottapilly family from South California have been found by search and rescue teams. While the bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly and his nine-year-old daughter Saachi were found earlier, that of 12-year-old Siddhant was the last one to be found on April 16, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

“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.

An autopsy is expected to be performed this week, it added.

The Mendocino Sheriff took to the social media to provide an update about the incident.


A boating team on April 15 noticed a smell of gasoline emanating from the water — around half-a-mile ahead, downstream, of the reported crash site. The search teams then started to look and spotted a vehicle that was submerged around 4 to 6 feet underneath 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,” the statement said.

Efforts to recover the vehicle continued for many hours, before the vehicle was partially brought out from the Eel River with the help 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 from inside the vehicle,” added the statement. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office identified the body of the adult female that was recovered earlier from the river as being that of Sandeep’s wife, Soumya.

Around 70 searchers had been looking for the missing Thottapilly family near the Eel River in Leggett, California. As many as 21 water searchers, including two jet ski teams, two boat teams and many kayak teams, were looking through the waters.

Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, his wife Soumya, 38, and their children, 12-year-old Siddhant and 9-year-old Saachi, were missing since April 5 when they went on a road trip in their maroon Honda Pilot, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office had said earlier.

The Highway Patrol became aware of the missing family on April 9. The family was believed to be traveling through the Redwood Coast Highway on a vacation. They were supposed to have arrived to visit a friend in the San Jose area on April 6, but they did not make it as scheduled.

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