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Body Found Near Where Valencia Family’s Van Might Have Crashed in NorCal: Sheriff’s Office

Crews discovered the body of a woman near where a Valencia family's van might have crashed in Northern California the week before, officials announced Friday.

This photo was posted on Sandeep Thottapilly's Facebook page on Oct. 22, 2013.

This photo was posted on Sandeep Thottapilly's Facebook page on Oct. 22, 2013.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office originally identified the body as a child at a news conference on Friday, but later said that the remains belonged to a female adult.

The Thottapilly family—Sandeep, 42; his wife Soumya, 38; and their two children, 12-year-old Siddhant and 9-year-old Saachi—embarked on a trip to Portland, Oregon, in a 2016 Maroon Honda Pilot from their Valencia home on March 30.

They were expected at a family member’s home in San Jose on April 6. The family was reported missing two days later.

Authorities began looking into whether the family was linked to what's believed to be a Honda Pilot that went into the Eel River from Highway 101 in Mendocino County on April 6, when a massive storm hit Northern California.

That vehicle went into the river after stopping at a turnout near Legget, CHP told the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.

On Thursday, CHP said teams that scoured through 12 miles of river bank discovered items and parts of a vehicle that belonged to the family.

The next morning, crews recovered the remains of a woman on exposed terrain about 7 miles north of where the car crash occurred, according to a statement from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. Officials earlier said the body was found in the water south of the inciden'ts site.

The spot appeared to have been covered by the Eel River due to the weather, the news release said.

Authorities said they have not identified the remains, and an autopsy was expected to be conducted on April 17.

Meanwhile, the search continued for the missing family members and their vehicle, which investigators believed to be submerged somewhere in the river.

A neighbor of the family described the four of them as "very friendly."

"They were such a nice family. They were very friendly, very outgoing," he said. "We always saw them walking up and down the street. They would ride scooters up and down the street and the grandparents would come to town."