atharva CHINchWADKAR

University of California Santa Cruz student Atharva Chinchwadkar, who had been missing from his Fremont, California home since Feb. 21, was found dead in his vehicle in a canyon in nearby Sunol. (Facebook photo)

Indian American teen Atharva Chinchwadkar, who had been missing from his Fremont, Calif., home for seven days, was found dead Feb. 27 in nearby Sunol, the apparent victim of an auto accident.

Chinchwadkar, 19, a student at UC Santa Cruz who was studying from home amid the COVID pandemic, was last seen by his parents, Sachin and Yashashree Chinchwadkar, on Feb. 21 evening at about 6 p.m., when he told them he was going out to buy pet food.

He did not return home that evening. The Chinchwadkars employed the help of the Indian American community and the Fremont Police Department to find their missing son.

According to Bay City News, Chinchwadkar was found dead inside an overturned vehicle Feb. 27 morning in an unincorporated area of Alameda County near Sunol and Fremont.

The news service cited a report from the California Highway Patrol, which said it received a call of an overturned vehicle off the roadway on Calaveras Road west of Welch Creek. A bicyclist had stopped there and observed a gray Toyota Camry upside down approximately 100 feet down into a canyon.

Alameda County Fire Department firefighters rappelled down the ravine to find Chinchwadkar dead in the vehicle. When the vehicle was recovered, it was confirmed that the driver had been reported missing out of Fremont on Feb. 21. There were no skid marks where the vehicle left the roadway.

No additional details, including how long Chinchwadkar was in the car before he was found, or whether other vehicles were involved, was released by the CHP.

On social media, tributes poured in for the young man. 

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