Family missing after SUV seen driving into river feared dead

A family of four is feared dead after their SUV went off a highway into a swollen river during a spell of severe storms in Northern California last week.

According to the Mercury News, authorities have concluded that a Honda Pilot SUV seen plunging into the Eel River outside Leggit, California, on Friday belongs the missing Thottapilly family.

Sandeep and Soumya Thottapuilly and their two children, 12-year-old Siddhanty and 9-year-old Saachi, were expected to return last weekend from a family road trip to Oregon. When they did not arrive home to Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County, relatives reported them missing on Sunday. Authorities have been searching the river for the vehicle and any missing family members.

“Several items have been positively identified, by family members, as belonging to the Thottapilly family,” read a post on the California Highway Patrol Garberville’s Facebook page.

“These items were of a personal nature and will not be described further at this time, but it does confirm the fact the vehicle that was seen going into the river was that of the Thottapilly family.”

The vehicle itself has not been found, or any human remains. It is not the first instance of a vehicle going into water in Mendocino County in recent weeks.

Late last month, a vehicle driven by Jennifer Hart went over a cliff on the Pacific Coast Highway, killing her, her wife, and three of their adopted children. Investigators believe the car was driven over the cliff intentionally. Three more adopted children are still missing. Last Saturday, tourists found the body of an African-American female in the water near the crash site.  Authorities said DNA testing to identify the body could take several weeks.


[Feature image: Thottapilly Family/Facebook]