Debris Found in River Belongs to Missing Valencia Family


Items that belong to a missing California family were found in a river near Leggett, California on Wednesday.

The Valencia family includes the father, Sandeep, 42; the mother, Soumya, 38; their son, Siddhant, 12; and their daughter, Saachi, 9.

"In cooperation with San Jose Police Department, it was determined the overdue family was supposed to have arrived to visit a friend in the San Jose area on 4/6/2018 but did not make it as scheduled". The items were identified by family members as belonging to the Thottapilly family, officials said.

The search continues for the family officially reported as missing to the San Jose Police Department on April 8. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The family was travelling in a maroon Honda Pilot with a California licence plate, the police said.

A flyer asking for help in the search was posted on a family member's Facebook page.

After a thorough search of the riverbanks on April 10 and 11, authorities have confirmed that auto did belong to the Thottapilly family. Officers found a part from a maroon Honda Pilot, the same type of SUV the family was driving, but did not definitively say it was from their vehicle until Thursday.

So far, search crews from been unsuccessful in locating the Honda vehicle or any occupants from the vehicle.

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Sheriff deputies and the California Highway Patrol have been working since last week to locate and recover the vehicle. By Sunday, April 8, relatives had reported the family missing to San Jose police and an alert was sent out. The Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol agreed to do continuous evaluations as the river levels receded.

A week after the family of Sandeep Thottapilly, an Indian origin banker living and working in the U.S. state of California, was reported missing, there has not been much headway in the case.

The Swift Water Rescue Teams conducted a bank search as well as some limited "probing", a technique using a long pole being probed underwater to see if the vehicle or anything metallic could be located.

The teams accessed the river in inflatable boats and using smaller floatation devices.

Between the two search days, the teams were able to cover approximately 12 miles of river bank.

A California Highway Patrol spokesperson said earlier this week 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 in rural Mendocino County, during the storm that hit Northern California last week.

Later, Mendocino County Sheriff declared them as missing persons.

Mendocino County sheriff's officials will launch a search of the river's south fork after water levels, Mendocino County sheriff's Lt. Shannon Barney said on Tuesday, according to The Press Democrat.