Bodies found in SUV plunged into California river ID'd as missing family members; 1 child sought

The bodies of a man and child found in an SUV that plunged into a California river were identified as members of the Thottapilly family who vanished in early April, authorities said Monday.

Search crews on Sunday found the bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, and Saachi Thottapilly, 9, inside an SUV that was pulled from the Eel River in Leggett, Calif. Another woman’s body found about seven miles from the scene over the weekend was identified as 38-year-old Soumya Thottapilly.

In this photo released Thursday, April 12, 2018, by The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is a search underway along the Eel River in Northern California. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office says recovered debris and personal items confirm that a vehicle seen plunging into a storm-swollen river last week belonged to a family that went missing. A sheriff's office statement Thursday, April 12, 2018, says the vehicle and its occupants haven't been located in the Eel River but searchers have found numerous items from the vehicle's body and interior. They say the items are consistent with a family on vacation and unspecified items were identified by relatives of the Thottapilly family. (Lt. Shannon Barney/Mendocino County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Authorities have been searching the area for the missing family.  (Mendocino County Sheriff's Office)

Police are still searching for the couple’s son, Siddhant Thottapilly, 12, who was believed to be with the rest of the family when the deadly incident occurred.

Authorities began searching for the Thottapilly family after they vanished during a road trip from Portland, Ore., to their home in Santa Clarita. The family was traveling as a storm in Northern California dumped heavy rain in the area.

The family was reported missing on April 8, when relatives said the four were supposed to visit them in San Jose.

"They were such a nice family. They were very friendly, very outgoing," a neighbor previously told KTLA. "We always saw them walking up and down the street. They would ride scooters up and down the street and the grandparents would come to town."


The family was reported missing on April 8 two days after they didn't show up to a relatives' house.  (Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Office)

Monday’s discovery comes just weeks after at least five members of the Hart family died when their SUV accelerated off an ocean overlook along the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California. Three children remain missing in the incident, though police believe they were also in the vehicle when the crash happened.

Authorities said Friday Jennifer Hart, the driver, was intoxicated when she drove off the cliff. Her wife, Sarah, and two of the six adopted children had “a significant amount” of an ingredient that can be found in Benadryl in their systems.” None of the people in the vehicle were wearing seat belts at the time.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam