Friends and relatives are asking for help in an ongoing search for a family of four from Valencia who left on a spring break road trip late last month but hasn’t been seen or heard from in several days, and now authorities are looking whether their vehicle went into a rain-swollen river in Mendocino County.
Sandeep Thottapilly, 42, took his family up the West Coast on a trip to Portland, Oregon, on March 30. They were planning to stop in San Jose on their way back, but contact was lost with them on Thursday, April 5, according to a missing persons notice posted on social media.
They were last known to be in the “Klamath – Redwood National Park area,” the flyer stated. Klamath is an unincorporated area in Del Norte County, north of Redwood National and State Parks in far northwest California.
Thottapilly was traveling with his wife Soumya, 38, and the couple’s two children, 12-year-old Siddhant and his 9-year-old sister Saachi.
The Thottapillys were expected to arrive at a family member’s home in San Jose on Friday, April 6, but never showed up, San Jose Police Department Officer Gina Tepoorten said.
On Sunday, the family member called police to report them missing.
The family was traveling in a 2016 Maroon Honda Pilot with a California plate of 7MMX138.
On Tuesday, authorities were investigating whether the family was linked to a similar vehicle that went into the Eel River in Mendocino County about 1 p.m. April 6, when a massive storm swamped much of Northern California.
A vehicle believed to be a newer-model maroon Honda Pilot went over the edge of Highway 101 at mile marker 95, but the automobile hasn’t been recovered due to continued difficult conditions on the river, California Highway Patrol Officer William Wunderlich told KTLA.
The vehicle went into the water after pulling over into a turnout near Leggett and then going over the side, Wunderlich told the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.
CHP was coordinating recovery efforts, but the vehicle hadn’t been found by Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, investigators were working to obtain search warrants for cellphone carriers to see where the family members’ phones last pinged, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy said. They were also checking to see if the vehicle was equipped with a locating system.
The father of Sandeep Thottapilly reached out for help from Union Bank, where he says his son is the vice president.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station tweeted Tuesday that they were also on the lookout for the missing family and would be providing updates.
We want to let our community know, we are aware of the #Missing Family Story that @SCVSignal published. SCV Sheriff’s Station is in contact with San Jose PD, who is handling the case. We will provide updates when we receive more info. #LASD https://t.co/0mxNg9ln9O
— SCV Sheriff (@SCVSHERIFF) April 10, 2018
Matt Lemus, the family’s neighbor, said there has been no activity at the home since the family left on March 30.
He added that surveillance video from that day shows the mother and daughter outside, and later, the family van pulling out of the driveway.
Another neighbor, Pattie McCormick, is hoping for the best.
“They’re good people. I hope they find them,” she said. “I just hope they’re lost. They went on a road trip and maybe they’re lost. I’ve been lost.”
Candles and flowers marked the family’s Valencia driveway Tuesday night as community members gathered outside their home for a prayer service.
“We’re praying for the family, for their family, we’re praying for ourselves,” neighbor Lynn McTaggart said. “And I’ll tell you what, this has brought our neighborhood together.”
Anyone with information was asked to contact their local authorities or dial 813-616-3091.
KTLA’s Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.