Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Three children in fatal California SUV crash adopted from Colorado County

Three children in fatal California SUV crash adopted from Colorado County

A family of four is now overlooking from California, and authorities fear They Might Have pushed in the Eel River while over a road trip. The items were identified by family members as belonging to the Thottapilly family, officials said.

Search-and-rescue teams took inflatable boats and river boards onto the river Tuesday and Wednesday when conditions improved and probed the river bottom with long poles, CHP said.

Before the family was known to be missing, authorities in Mendocino County received reports that a vehicle southbound on USA 101 went off the highway and tumbled into the Eel River.

Authorities have said that data from the vehicle's software suggested the crash was deliberate, though the California Highway Patrol has not concluded why the vehicle went off an ocean overlook on a rugged part of coastline.

The Humboldt County Sheriffs Office also assisted with the use of their jet boat with side scan sonar system.

The family of four - two parents and two children - was traveling from Portland, Oregon, to their home in Santa Clarita, California, last week when they stopped communicating with relatives.

Sandeep Thottapilly is from Surat, India and is a vice president at Union Bank, according to his Facebook page.

North Carolina father-daughter couple and infant child all killed, officials say
Steven and Katie Pladl reconnected in 2016 when she moved into his home with her mother and their two kids outside of Virginia. Found dead in a pickup truck in New Milford, Connecticut, was Katie Pladl, 20, and her adoptive father, Anthony Fusco, 56.

The items had turned up over the course of searches of the South Fork of the Eel River over the past two days, the statement said.

Neither the SUV nor the bodies of the Santa Clarita family have been recovered, but undisclosed belongings of the Thottapilly family and auto parts from their SUV were found along the river, the CHP said in a statement.

Authorities did not elaborate on items that were found in the river this week, but said that a vehicle seen going into the river on April 6, when a massive storm swamped areas of Northern California.

The teams accessed the river in inflatable boats and on River Boards, a small floatation device created to allow full access under overhanging trees or tight areas not accessible by boat.

Sarah and Jennifer Hart and their six adopted children were believed to be in the family's SUV when it plunged off a cliff in Mendocino County, more than 160 miles (250 kilometers) north of San Francisco.

And authorities have said social services officials in OR contacted the West Linn Police Department about the family in 2013 while they were living in the area. MORE: Witness recalls SUV matching missing Valencia family's vehicle flipping into Eel River The family was scheduled to arrive to visit a friend in the San Jose area on April 6, but never showed up, authorities said. 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.

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