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No sign of Indian family, but personal items recovered from California River


Personal items belonging to the four members of the Thottapilly family has been recovered from a California river, reports say, adding that a part of the vehicle in which they travelled has also been recovered.

Sandeep Thottapilly, along with his wife Soumya and two children — Siddhanth and Saachi — are believed to have travelled through Humboldt and Mendocino County on US-101 in their maroon Honda Pilot early this month. They were reported missing on April 5.

Their vehicle is reported to have submerged in the river around 1:10 pm on April 6.

“The teams were unsuccessful in locating the vehicle or any occupants from the vehicle. They were able to locate numerous items that appeared to have come from a vehicle body and interior,” the Garberville office of the California Highway Patrol was quoted as saying by PTI.

“Some of these items were consistent with a Honda vehicle. Also located were various personal items that were consistent with a family travelling on vacation. Several items have been positively identified, by the family members, as belonging to the Thottapilly family,” it said.

“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,” the California Highway Patrol said.

Sandeep worked as a vice-president with the Union Bank and lived in Los Angeles with his family. He moved to the US 15 years ago.

The banker’s father, originally from Kerala and living in Gujarat for several years, had sought India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s help to locate his son.

Babu Thottapilly had earlier tweeted, “Respected Sushma Swaraj ji, I am a senior citizen and resident of Surat, Gujarat. My son Sandeep Thottapilly is residing in California, USA. He and his family are reported missing since last Thursday.

“Would request your good office to take up this matter with concerned authorities in USA and help find my son and his family as soon as possible. requesting your kind cooperation.”

Along with the message, he posted a photograph of his son and his family.

“We have taken help of Facebook post to reach out to more and more people in California…,” he said.