Body of woman found in Northern California river amid search for missing Valencia family

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A woman's body has been found in a Northern California river, where a missing Valencia family's car is believed to be submerged. (KABC)

A woman's body has been found in a Northern California river, where a missing Valencia family's car is believed to be submerged.

The Mendocino County Sheriff said during a Friday news conference that the body was found about 7 miles south of where the Thottapilly family's car is believed to have gone off an embankment. The Sheriff's Office said the woman was found on exposed ground that had been covered by the river in recent days because of a storm. Officials initially thought the remains were that of a child, but later clarified that it was a woman.

MORE: Missing Valencia family's belongings found in NorCal river

The California Highway Patrol does not believe there is any foul play.

"The vehicle attempted to pull over to the shoulder into a big pullout, and the vehicle came close to coming to a stop and ended up going over the edge and into the river," said Lt. Randy England of the California Highway Patrol.

The discovery comes after investigators found personal items belonging to the Thottapilly family in the Eel River.

Authorities said they found "various personal items consistent with a family traveling on vacation" during the course of the two-day search. Relatives of the Thottapilly family positively identified the items as belongings of their family members, authorities said.

The river is still too dangerous for divers to enter, but searchers along the banks found several items consistent with a Honda vehicle. Investigators said it is not surprising to find items miles away from the scene of the accident.

MORE: Witness recalls SUV matching missing Valencia family's car flipping into Eel River
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A witness recalled seeing an SUV matching the description of a missing Valencia family's vehicle plunge into the Eel River in Northern California.


The family was scheduled to arrive to visit a friend in the San Jose area on April 6 as a strong storm dumped rain on Northern California, but never showed up, authorities said. Sandeep, 42, Soumya, 38, Siddhant, 12, and Saachi, 9, were last seen in Klamath, in Del Norte County on April 5. They were reported missing on April 8.

A witness recalled seeing an SUV matching the description of a missing Valencia family's vehicle plunge into the Eel River.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
missing personcar crashcrashfamilyCaliforniaValenciaSanta ClaritaLos Angeles County
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