Search Continues for Missing Santa Clarita Family After SUV Swept Into River

Searchers in Mendocino County were continuing their search Tuesday for an SUV that was swept into a river last week, and which matches the description of a vehicle in which four members of a missing Valencia family were riding on a trip from Portland, Oregon, to San Jose.

The members of the Thottapilly family -- father Sandeep, 42, mother Soumya, 38, and their two children, son Siddhant, 12, and daughter Saachi, 9 --"suddenly stopped communicating with family in Valencia'' last Thursday, and a notice of the family's absence was posted Monday on Facebook as a "Missing'' poster, according to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal.

The notice reads: "We lost contact with them on April 5. Last known location is around Klamath -- Redwood National Park Area'' in Northern California near the Oregon border.

The search was being conducted just north of Leggett, California Highway Patrol Officer William Wunderlich said.

"We are evaluating weather conditions,'' Wunderlich said this afternoon.

Earlier, Wunderlich told The Signal that the CHP received reports Friday that a vehicle went into the Eel River from US Highway 101, near mile post marker 95.

"The vehicle was completely submerged in the river due to the heavy rain. We are working on finding the vehicle but we are not able to locate it,'' he said. "Based on our preliminary investigation and witness statements, we believe the vehicle was a 2016 or 2017 Honda Pilot, maroon in color. This vehicle and the missing person's vehicle are similar but, at this time, we are unable to confirm it's the same vehicle. ...We're searching a broad area but because of the moving river, it's a difficult search.''

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station tweeted this morning: "We want to let our community know, we are aware of the missing family story that @SCVSignal published. SCV Sheriff's Station is in contact with San Jose PD, who is handling the case. We will provide updates when we receive more info.''

A San Jose police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

A relative of the Thottapilly family who lives in the San Jose area reached out to police Sunday out of concern for the family of four's welfare.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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