Personal belongings of Thottapilly family found in Eel river; woman’s body recovered

Sandeep Thottapilly with his family (Courtesy of Facebook)

Numerous search resources including CHP Helicopter, boats equipped with sonar, kayaks, and river boards were utilized in an attempt to locate the vehicle and its occupants. 

A week after the Thottapilly family went missing during a road trip, the authorities have now confirmed that a body found in the Eel River, which was earlier reported as that of a kid, belongs to a female. Authorities have also recovered personal belongings of the family including the parts of the Honda Pilot car that they were traveling.

According to California Highway Patrol, the vehicle that the Thottapillys were traveling “disappeared” into the Eel River near Mendocino County on April 6. The authorities have recovered evidence of the car moving on US-101 in Leggett, California, suggesting that it met with an accident that could have ended in submerging the Honda Pilot car under the Eel River.

Lieutenant Randy England of the California Highway Patrol, along with Sheriff Tom Allman of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department, spoke with members of the media regarding ongoing search efforts for a missing vehicle that belongs to the Thottapilly family.

According to the officials, the search and rescue team has recovered several parts of a vehicle that has been determined as belonging to a Honda Pilot car, which the Thottapilly family owns. The officials have also said that members of Thottapilly family met the California Highway Patrol personnel Sheriff Allman and Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue team leader Dianna Totten.

On Friday, April 13, Sheriff Allman announced that a body was located in the Eel River approximately seven miles north of the collision scene. Local media has reported that the body belongs to Soumya Thottapilly but there has not been an official word on it.

Even though the authorities have confirmed that they have retrieved personal belongings of the Thottapilly family from different locations, they haven’t revealed the nature of these belongings. The evidence was shown to the members of the family who confirmed that they belong to their missing kin.

On April 13, 2018, at approximately 12:00 pm, Lieutenant Randy England of the California Highway Patrol, along with…

Posted by CHP – Garberville on Saturday, April 14, 2018

Numerous search resources including CHP Helicopter, boats equipped with sonar, kayaks, and river boards were utilized in an attempt to locate the vehicle and its occupants.

According to the investigators, Thottapilly family went missing while journeying through Humboldt and Mendocino Counties. They are also trying to obtain phone records and bank transactions to establish where the Thottapilly family might have stopped during their trip.

An eyewitness told the network’s Bay Area affiliate ABC 7 that he saw the vehicle car flip over into the river.

“The car kept going straight and it was going off the pavement,” Pat Berkowitz was quoted as saying. “It’s on two wheels and I’m going by and it’s flipping over.”

He told the outlet that he tried to go down to the embankment but could not. He said: “I’m yelling, ‘Hello, hello, anyone there? It’s horrific.”

Sandeep Thottapilly, who grew up in Surat, in the Gujarat state of India, was working at Union Bank as a vice president. Soumya Thottapilly is from Kochi, Kerala.

The family lived in Santa Clarita, roughly 40 miles to the north of Los Angeles.

Earlier, Babu Subramaniam Thottapilly, father of Sandeep, had sought the help of India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to locate his son and his family.

Sandeep Thottapilly (42), his wife, Soumya (38), and their two children Siddhant (12) and Saachi (9) have been missing since April 5. They left for a road trip from Portland, Oregon, to San Jose, California, last month, but have not been seen or heard from in several days.

“I am in constant touch with our Consulate in San Francisco. They are coordinating with the Police. Rest assured. We will spare no effort,” Sushma Swaraj replied.

“Our consulate there has been maintaining contact with the family members of the missing people. We are in touch with the state police department. We are also in touch with the highway patrol. We are trying our best to locate the whereabouts of the family,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had told reporters

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