Hart family left shortly after child services visited, neighbor told agency

Sergio Conner
April 15, 2018

Two kids' bodies are missing and a third body has been found but wasn't identified.

After investigating for almost a week, the authorities have now confirmed that the Indian family of four has drowned in the Eel River in Northern California, following a massive storm. Debris at the accident site and other material found along the riverbanks also was consistent with that vehicle, officials have said.

Sandeep, 42, Soumya, 38, Siddhant, 12, and Saachi, 9, were last seen in Klamath, in Del Norte County on April 5.

The body has been sent for identification, amidst fear that that this could be that from the missing Thottapilly family.

A woman was drunk when she drove her large family off a Northern California cliff last month and her wife and several children had large amounts of a drug in their systems that can cause drowsiness, authorities said Friday.

"Identification of the body is pending at this time and an autopsy is anticipated to be conducted on 04-17-2018".

Because of the storm, the river was too risky for search crews to get in the water until Tuesday, when conditions were deemed safe enough.

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

"The teams were unsuccessful in locating the vehicle or any occupants from the vehicle", CHP Officer William Wunderlich wrote in his update posted on the CHP Facebook page.

Investigators initially said they discovered the body of a child, but later said a woman's body was found.

Argyropoulos said she contacted Oregon's Department of Human Services in July 2013 after being alarmed by the parents' treatment of their children during two visits the Hart family, which was then living in West Linn, made to her Bay Area home. Various personal items that the family was carrying during their vacation were also found.

The body hasn't yet been identified but authorities have been searching for four members of the Thottapilly family of Santa Clarita: a man and wife and their two children. The vehicle appears to have left a highway for a dirt turnout, then accelerated on that turnout for about 70 feet until it went off the cliff, authorities said, citing data from the vehicle's software and air bag module.

The vehicle, believed to be a newer-model maroon Honda Pilot, went over the edge of Highway 101 at mile marker 95.

Argyropoulos says the family's story has spurred her to start a petition calling for a national child abuse registry that would alert states of prior reports of abuse.

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