Missing Indian boy’s body found in US river

The body of a 12-year-old boy, the last member of an Indian family that disappeared during a road trip in US, has been recovered, ending a 11-day search operation for the Thottapilly family, from Santa Clarita.

They had gone missing while travelling to meet with family members in San Jose, California. Their disappearance on April 6 coincided with reports of a vehicle seen plunging into the Eel River during last week’s storm.

Sandeep Thottapilly, 42, and his daughter, Saachi were found dead inside a vehicle encased in sediment in the Eel River, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said. Separately, an adult female body recovered on Friday from another area of the river was identified as Soumya Thottapilly, 38.

Siddhant Thottapilly’s body was recovered 6 miles north of the reported crash site, it added.

“Once the body was recovered it was identified as being Siddhant Thottapilly, the remaining missing member of the Thottapilly family. An autopsy is expected to be performed this week as part of the Coroner’s investigation into the incident,” the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said.

The family’s maroon SUV was seen falling into the river in northern Mendocino County from a pullout during a rainstorm. They had been traveling south from Oregon along Highway 101 when the incident occurred, officials said.

On Sunday, 70 searchers using Jet Skis, boats and kayaks worked along the river in an ongoing effort to find the vehicle and family.

The vehicle was encased in sediment and visibility was poor but divers believed there was at least one body inside, officials said. 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. The river was swollen from recent storms and officials had to wait several days for it to recede.

Sandeep Thottapilly and his family were on a road trip in the maroon Honda Pilot from Portland, Oregon to San Jose in Southern California, during which they went missing on April 5.

Sandeep Thottapilly grew up in Surat city in Gujarat and settled down in the US over 15 years ago.


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