missing family

The Thottapilly family. (Facebook photo)

Authorities in California are seeking the assistance of the community to help find an Indian American family of four who have gone missing on a recent trip between Santa Clarita, near Valencia in Southern California, and Portland, Oregon.

The family, Sandeep Thottapilly, 42; Soumya Thottapilly, 38; Siddhant Thottapilly; 12; and Saachi Thottapilly, 9, have been missing since April 5.

The Thottapillys had been on a road trip from their home in Santa Clarita to Portland and back. It was during a leg of their trip heading south from Portland to San Jose when all contact was lost.

They were last known to have been around the Klamath-Redwood National Park area.

The family, which reportedly checked out of the Holiday Inn Express hotel in Klamath, Ore., April 6, was heading to San Jose to spend an evening with Sandeep Thottapilly's cousin but didn't show up.

A missing persons report was filed with the San Jose Police Department.

A CBSLA report from Valencia said April 10 that authorities in San Jose, who are handling the case, are investigating whether an SUV that had been swept away into a river in Mendocino County during heavy rains was carrying the family.

The Thottapilly family were driving on the road trip from Portland to San Jose in a maroon-colored Honda Pilot when they lost contact with relatives, according to relatives.

A California Highway Patrol spokesperson told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal April 11 that 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.

“The vehicle was completely submerged in the river due to the heavy rain,” CHP Officer William Wunderlich told The Signal. “We are working on finding the vehicle but we are not able to locate it.”

Sandeep Thottapilly is vice president of Union Bank in Santa Clarita. Saachi attends Meadows Elementary School in Santa Clarita and Siddhant graduated from Meadows last year.

Anyone with information about the family, driving a maroon Honda Pilot with California plate No. 7MMX138, is urged to call local authorities or (813) 616-3091.

According to a California Highway Patrol press release, the Garberville CHP April 10 established a joint incident command with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Cal-Fire, Leggett Volunteer Fire, Piercy Volunteer Fire and Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue to organize continuous search efforts for the missing vehicle and occupants. 

On April 6, the release said, Humboldt Communications Center received a report of a vehicle over the side of a steep embankment on US-101, south of Dora Creek in Northern Mendocino County. Upon the arrival of emergency personnel, the vehicle, which matches the description of the SUV driven by the missing family, was completely submerged in the Eel River. The California Highway Patrol, Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue, Piercy Volunteer Fire, and Leggett Volunteer Fire Department all responded to the scene to assist; however, due to the strong river current, and the poor clarity, the vehicle was unable to be located. CHP and emergency personnel have continuously searched and monitored the river in attempts to locate the vehicle. CHP has also utilized its helicopter in attempts to locate the vehicle. 

This incident remains under investigation by the Garberville CHP Office.

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