California Rescuers Find Items Belonging to Missing Family


While the auto and the missing family have still not been found, the crews recovered vehicle parts and some of their personal items.

The incident began on April 6, when Sandeep and Soumya Thottapilly and their children, 12-year-old Siddhant and 9-year-old Saachi, disappeared, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said. San Jose police are investigating the family's disappearance. The sheriff's office didn't reveal what the belongings are but said they "confirm the fact the vehicle that was seen going into the river was that of the Thottapilly family". Family members reported them missing to authorities there on April 8. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The California Highway Patrol did recover a part from a maroon Honda Pilot - the type of auto the family was traveling in, the sheriff's office said.

After a thorough search of the riverbanks on April 10 and 11, authorities have confirmed that vehicle did belong to the Thottapilly family.

Parts of a vehicle consistent with a Honda were found, as well as "various personal items that were consistent with a family traveling on vacation", according to a news release from the California Highway Patrol.

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Search crews will continue to search for the rest of the auto and its occupants.

The Sheriff's office and the CHP agreed to do continuous evaluations as the river levels receded.

The family was traveling from Portland, Oregon, to Santa Clarita in a 2016 maroon Honda Pilot.

Swift, high water flow from last week's rains prevented a search by the dive team, but on Tuesday and Wednesday the swift water rescue teams were able to search the river banks and do limited probing underwater with a long pole.

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However, rescue workers were able to locate numerous items that appeared to have come from a vehicle body and interior.

Search teams climbed into inflatable boats and got on River Boards - a small floatation device created to allow full access under overhanging trees or tight areas not accessible by boat. Some of these items were consistent with a Honda vehicle, according to CHP. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office also aided in the search with the use of their jet boat with side scan sonar system.

Once recovered, the California Highway Patrol will conduct a complete mechanical inspection of the vehicle as part of the accident investigation.

A California Highway Patrol spokesperson said earlier this week an SUV matching the description of the Pilot may have been swept into the Eel River off Highway 101, north of the town of Leggett in rural Mendocino County, during the storm that hit Northern California last week.

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In Santa Clarita, meanwhile, Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators were working to obtain search warrants for cellphone carriers to see where the family members' phones last pinged.