Family on Oregon-to-California Road Trip Goes Missing

Their car may have gone over a turnout and into a river
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 10, 2018 6:29 PM CDT
In this March 29, 2018, file photo, Deputy Bill Holcomb looks down the cliff near the Hart crash site near Mendocino, Calif., as search and rescue volunteers scour the area behind him looking for three...   (Kale Williams/The Oregonian via AP, File)

(Newser) – A vehicle fell into a rain-swollen river and vanished last week in the same region of California's far north coast where a family that vanished during a road trip is last known to have been, authorities said. Mendocino County sheriff's Lt. Shannon Barney told the Press-Democrat of Santa Rosa that officials will launch a search of the south fork of the Eel River once water levels drop and the flow slows. Witnesses reported a newer-model maroon vehicle, possibly a Honda Pilot, went into the river about 1pm Friday, said California Highway Patrol Officer William Wunderlich. The vehicle was southbound on US 101, pulled into a turnout, and went over the side and into the river. Four members of the Thottapilly family have been missing since last week while traveling from Portland, Oregon, to their home in Santa Clarita, California, the San Jose Police Department said in an email to the AP.

A relative who had been expecting them in San Jose on Friday reported them missing on Sunday. "The family never made it to their destination and have not been heard or seen from since Thursday," the statement said. Police identified their vehicle as a maroon or burgundy 2016 Honda Pilot with license plates 7MMX138. A "missing" poster shared by friends and family on Facebook identified the Thottapilly family members as 42-year-old Sandeep, 38-year-old Soumya, 12-year-old Siddhanty and 9-year-old Saachi. The poster said their last known location was the "Klamath-Redwood National Park area." 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. Sarah and Jennifer Hart and their six adopted children were believed to be in the family's SUV at the time.

(Read more missing family stories.)

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