On Thursday, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said it had found belongings of the Thottapilly family, of Santa Clarita, as well as vehicle parts from their SUV about 14 miles down river from where investigators believe they rolled down an embankment. Five bodies were found March 26 near Mendocino, a few days after Washington state authorities began investigating the Harts for possible child neglect, but three of their children were not immediately recovered from the scene along the shoreline.
Sandeep Thottapilly, his wife Soumya and two children - Siddhanth and Saachi - were on a road trip in a maroon Honda Pilot from Portloand in OR to San Jose in Southern California when a storm made its landfall in Northern California, CBS reported.
The California Highway Patrol developed information that the family were travelling in a family vehicle, a 2016 maroon Honda Pilot.
In addition to the insertion of Swift Water Rescue Teams to conduct a bank search, there was some limited "probing", a technique using a long pole being probed underwater to see if the vehicle or anything metallic could be located.
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The announcement came during a Mendocino County Sheriff's Office news conference updating reporters on their efforts to locate Sandeep Thottapilly, his wife and two children, whose SUV is believed to have plunged into the Eel River, off Highway 101 near the town of Leggett. Witness recalls SUV matching missing Valencia family's vehicle flipping into Eel RiverAuthorities said they found "various personal items consistent with a family traveling on vacation" during the course of the two-day search. They say the items are consistent with a family on vacation and unspecified items were identified by relatives of the Thottapilly family.
The family was driving a maroon Honda Pilot with California plate 7MMX138.
They were expected to get to a family member's home in San Jose on April 6, but did not show up.
The California Highway Patrol and Mendecino County Sheriff and Coroner's Office have not returned messages left about the case as of 2:20 p.m. Wednesday. According to the CHP, the crews were unable to find the vehicle or any people, but they found more items consistent with a Honda vehicle.
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The Klamath River and also a string of country and federal redwood parks lie to the north of where in fact the vehicle saw falling in the Eel River along Highway 101.
A "missing" poster shared by friends and family on Facebook identified the Thottapilly family members as 42-year-old Sandeep, 38-year-old Soumya, 12-year-old Siddhanty and 9-year-old Saachi.
The CHP will do a complete mechanical inspection of the vehicle as part of its accident investigation. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office also searched with its jet boat with a side scan sonar system, sheriff's officials said.
Sheriff's authorities initially stated that the body belonged to a child, but then later corrected their initial report, stating that the body was in fact that of an adult female.
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