Authorities Identify Three Bodies Belonging to Missing California Family

Eel River in Mendocino County Calif. for a missing family of four whose vehicle was reported submerged in the river

Eel River in Mendocino County Calif. for a missing family of four whose vehicle was reported submerged in the river

An inter-agency search and rescue team has recovered two more bodies of an Indian American family who were feared drowned in a California river some 10 days ago, USA officials said today.

The discovery came three days after a body was found in the Eel River - a woman identified Saturday as Soumya Thottapilly, 38, wife and mother.

Searchers subsequently recovered the bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly, a 41 year old man, and Saachi Thottapilly, a 9-year-old girl, from inside the vehicle.

Search crews from multiple local law enforcement agencies have been trying to retrieve the vehicle, including the Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue; the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Boat Team; the California Highway Patrol Helicopter based in Redding, California; the Piercy Fire Department; the Leggett Valley Fire Department; the Swift Water Component Teams; the Little Lake Fire Department, the Ukiah Valley Fire Department, and the Hopland Fire Department. A poster shared by friends and relatives on social media suggested that the SUV matched the Thottapilly family's vehicle.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said Monday that a boating team searching the Eel River noticed the fuel odor about half a mile (1 kilometer) downstream from where the crash was reported.

Divers then entered the vehicle and felt what they believed was a body inside, though visibility was described as "extremely poor" with the vehicle "encased in a large amount of sediment from the river".

The family was believed to be vacationing when they were reported missing last week. The family was last heard from in the town of Klamath, Del Norte County, on April 5.

The family was traveling from Portland, Oregon, to their home in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita.

On April 6, witnesses reported seeing a similar-looking vehicle falling off a steep embankment and into the Eel River off U.S. Route 101 near Leggett, a small camping and hiking destination in Northern California, authorities said. In that case, Jennifer and Sarah Hart and three of their six children were found dead at the scene and three other children remain missing.

Also Sunday, authorities confirmed a body found Friday was Soumya Thottapilly.

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