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Bodies of missing Indian-American family members recovered

Bodies of missing Indian-American family members recovered

Searchers located the auto Sunday in the Eel River and recovered the bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, and Saachi Thottapilly, 9, the Mendocino County sheriff's office said in a statement.

Another search operation is being conducted around the Eel River in an attempt to locate Siddhant Thottapilly who still remains missing. The body of his mother, 39-year-old Soumya Thottapilly, was found last Friday.

"An autopsy is expected to be performed this week as part of the Coroner's investigation into the incident", it added.

The family was believed to be vacationing when they were reported missing last week.

The smell of gasoline about a half-mile (1 kilometer) downstream from where the crash was reported, led the investigators to the vehicle. Visibility was extremely poor and divers noted the vehicle was encased ina large amount of sediment from the river current, a media release said. The searchers found a vehicle submerged around 4-6 feet beneath the water, officials said.

Recovery efforts continued through the morning, until the vehicle was partially removed from the river about 6:30 p.m. The family had been driving along US Highway 101 from Portland, Oregon, to their home in Santa Clarita, according to the San Jose Police Department. Around 11:30 a.m., a team of searchers on a boat noticed a gasoline smell coming from the water approximately half a mile north of the site where the Thottapilly family's auto was reported to have crashed. The family's maroon Honda Pilot was seen falling into the river in northern Mendocino County from a pullout during an April 6 rainstorm. They, however, failed to show up at the friend's place on April 6 and were officially declared as missing on April 8.

Farther south along the Mendocino County coast, authorities continue to look for members of a family missing since an SUV made a deadly and possibly intentional plunge off a towering ocean bluff along State Route 1 last month.