A team of more than 20 searchers discovered the auto lying submerged between 4 and 6 feet of water and found the bodies inside the vehicle, the sheriff's office said. The search continues for the body of the family's 12-year-old boy.
The Thottapilly family - Sandeep, Soumya, their daughter Saachi and their 12-year-old son Siddhant - were traveling from Portland, Oregon, to San Jose when they "suddenly stopped communicating with family in Valencia" on April 5. Witnesses in Mendocino County - the same Northern California locality where another family died last month after their vehicle was possibly driven off a cliff - reported seeing an SUV being swept away in a river.
Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, and Saachi Thottapilly, 9, were found dead inside a vehicle encased in sediment in the Eel River, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said.
The body of an adult female that was found in the river last Friday has been identified as 38-year-old Soumya Thottapilly, the statement said. A poster shared by friends and relatives on social media suggested that the SUV matched the Thottapilly family's vehicle. Their disappearance coincided with reports that a vehicle had sunk into the Eel River in Northern California. The bodies recovered by the search teams have been identified as that of Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, and his daughter Saachi, nine.More news: Vikings, Eric Kendricks Agree to 5-Year, $50 Million Extension
The family was last heard from in Del Norte County and was reported missing by family members in San Jose on April 8.
The family was believed to be vacationing when they were reported missing last week. About 6:30 pm a tow truck was able to partially pull the vehicle out and two bodies were found inside it. Soumya's body was found several miles from where the vehicle went into the water.
Local news agencies are reporting that at least 70 searchers were involved in the rescue effort on the Eel River in Leggett, California.
The incident happened about 30 miles from the area where another family's SUV plunged 100 feet down a cliff off the scenic Pacific Coast Highway and into the ocean. "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".