Water rescue teams from CHP and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office searched the riverbanks and probed the water and found auto parts and personal items that belong to the Thottapilly family. Relatives of the Thottapilly family positively identified the items as belongings of their family members, authorities said. A sheriff's office statement Thursday says the vehicle and its occupants haven't been located in the Eel River but searchers have found numerous items from the vehicle's body and interior. Witnesses told the California Highway Patrol they saw a vehicle matching the description of the family's go into the Eel River on April 6 during stormy weather. Witness recalls SUV matching missing Valencia family's auto flipping into Eel RiverAuthorities said they found "various personal items consistent with a family traveling on vacation" during the course of the two-day search.
In Santa Clarita, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Warren said investigators were working to obtain search warrants for cellphone carriers to see where the family members' phones last pinged.
The family, Sandeep Thottapilly, his wife Soumya, 38, and the couple's two children, 12-year-old Siddhant and his 9-year-old sister Saachi, began a trip to Portland, Oregon from their Valencia home on March 30.
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The CHP and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office are expected to hold a news conference on noon Friday. By Sunday, April 8, relatives had reported the family missing to San Jose police and an alert was sent out. "These items were of a personal nature and will not be described further at this time, but it does confirm the fact the vehicle that was seen going into the river was that of the Thottapilly family". Last week, a storm dumped 2 to 5 inches of rain on the region. The vehicle had submerged by the time rescuers arrived.
Officials are looking for a family of four after a vehicle was seen sinking into water near the same treacherous area the Hart family fatally crashed into weeks ago. "Once recovered the Highway Patrol will conduct a complete mechanical inspection of the vehicle as part of the accident investigation".
A body was pulled out of the surf last weekend but was not immediately identified.