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Missing SUV, bodies found in Eel River

17 April 2018

Crews are still looking for the body of their 12-year old son, Siddhant Thottapilly.

Searchers have found the body of a 12-year-old boy, the last missing member of an Indian family of four which perished when their sports utility vehicle plunged into a swollen river in the USA state of California some 11 days ago.

The family?s maroon SUV was seen falling into the river in northern Mendocino County from a pullout during a rainstorm.

An autopsy is expected to be performed this week as part of the investigation into the incident.

Captain Gregory van Patten of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported in an April 16 press release that 70 members of a search and rescue team had conducted operations over the past week since the Thottapillys went missing.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office says the bodies of 41-year-old Sandeep Thottapilly and his 9-year-old daughter Saachi were pulled from the Eel River near the town of Leggett on Saturday.

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The boy's mother, Soumya Thottapilly, 38, was found Friday miles from the crash site in an area previously covered with water from the storm-swollen river. They had been traveling south from OR along Highway 101 when the incident occurred, officials said.

"At around 11:30am, a boating team noticed a gasoline smell emitting from the water approximately 1/2 mile north of the reported crash site (downstream)".

The bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly and Saachi Thottapilly were recovered from inside the vehicle on Sunday. "Visibility was extremely poor and divers noted the vehicle was encased in a large amount of sediment from the river current", a police official was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

The body was found a day after the vehicle with Siddhant's father and younger sister inside were pulled from the river sediment.

Efforts to recover the vehicle continued for many hours, before the vehicle was partially brought out from the Eel River with the help of a tow truck. A body was found in the ocean at the scene, but it has not been identified.

Missing SUV, bodies found in Eel River