Thottapilly Family Together: 12-Year-Old Siddhant’s Body Found, All Accounted For Now

Thottapilly family

A photo of 38-year-old Soumya, 12-year-old Siddhant, 9-year-old Saachi, and 42-year-old Sandeep Thottapilly taken several years ago. [Photo used with permission of relatives]

Press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department:

On 04-16-2018 a further search operation was conducted in and around the Eel River in Leggett, California.

At approximately 4:00 PM water searchers located the body of a juvenile male submerged in the Eel River approximately 6 miles north of the reported crash site (down stream).

Once the body was recovered it was identified as being Siddhant Thottapilly, the remaining missing member of the Thottapilly family.

An autopsy is expected to be performed this week as part of the Coroner’s investigation into the incident.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the following public safety agencies who assisted in the 04-16-2018 search:

Marin County Fire Department
Southern Marin Fire Department
Piercy Volunteer Fire Department
Leggett Volunteer Fire Department
Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office
Napa County Search & Rescue
Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue Team
Mendocino County Search & Rescue
CalFire
California Highway Patrol
Santa Rosa Fire Department
Sonoma Valley Fire Department
Forestville Fire Department
Russian River Fire District

Earlier Chapters in the Thottapilly accident: 

  • Laytonville Rock
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36 comments

  • Such a sad story. Glad they have all been found. Love to all of their relatives and friends.

  • They can be at peace now and their loved ones can start to heal. So sad and heartbreaking.

  • Can we please start the process of naming a grove of trees in their honor? This family and their relatives need to know that with this tragedy, we as a community want to help them heal.

  • This is so sad and heartbreaking. I’m
    glad the family can have some peace and closure they are all found. I appreciate all the reporting as no other sites have been updating like you have, Kym.

  • Sad, so surreal!

    Kym you ae truly a blessing to our world. We are beyond lucky to have you reporting on and representing our community.
    Your reporting is stellar and I hope you really deeply know how much you do for us all and how much we appreciate you. I know it can be hard to take it in.

    My heart and pride soars in seeing you and our awesome so hum volunteer crews helping folks from out of the area the same way we all try to help each other. Your professional and caring style shows…thank you!!!

    Condolences to the family and friends, anything our community can do for yours let us know, we are here and we wont forget the ones you’ve lost ♡
    If it feels right, please come to the summer arts faire in benbow this june and soak up the joy within our little part of the world.

  • Wanted to extend a heartfelt Thank you to every agency, the witnesses that called in the accident and all that assisted in the search and recovery for our friends. Because of all of you, our friends, The Thottappilly’s can now be laid to rest together. We will be forever indebted to your tireless efforts. Thank you.

  • Such a nice looking family. I met some of the surviving family a few days ago. I hope you are all at peace now.

  • If you know the family personally I may share some information with you. I know they are not ready for this as I am sure they are still in shock, but maybe if the time is right and they are interested then this information may be of some use. I got the idea from recalling the Roger Rodoni Memorial Interchange, which I know is a completely different circumstance, but I feel that there must be some public memorial for the family. Only they can decide that, though. I emailed Caltrans about dedicating part of the road to them or putting up some sort of roadway sign to acknowledge the loss that occurred, and received the following response:
    “Memorial highways must be created by state legislation. They generally begin by a member of the family contacting a member of the state senate or assembly to ask for support. That state representative works with Caltrans to find a suitable section of highway (or bridge), and then requests support from the county. The county supervisors must pass a resolution of support, then the state representative creates a bill which must be passed by both houses and signed by the governor. The family must then pay for the signs and installation, the signs are ordered, and then installed.
    Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.
    Sincerely,
    Phil Frisbie, Jr.”
    Maybe if there is enough interest and support, then the funds can be raised through public donations. By the way, maybe anyone has begun a public donation page to support the needs of the relatives of the family can provide that information. Thank you.

    • How about some guard rails in that spot, so no one else has to go through the heartbreak / ache of this tragedy!!!???

      • I agree. It’s a bit macabre to name the stretch of road that killed them after them. If guard rail were installed, it would be more appropriate. Otherwise I think a beautiful grove of redwoods would be more fitting.

    • Put up a guardrail named after them to keep that from happening to another family.

  • This is so sad. I can’t even imagine

  • Wow, thank goodness! All these searchers deserve the utmost honor and recognition for their efforts. I mean, to scour the river so diligently, with such intense purpose, and to actually manage to locate the body 6 miles away under water…just incredible.

  • Thank you Recovery, this is huge. You all did a great job!

  • Utmost respect to the search rescue/recover team. Your diligence and sincere efforts have given a family, friends, be and even concerned strangers – closure. RIP family. I don’t know you personally but I grieve for you all.

  • Sad, so surreal!

    Kym you are truly a blessing to our world. We are beyond lucky to have you reporting on and representing our community.
    Your reporting is stellar and I hope you really deeply know how much you do for us all and how much we appreciate you. I know it can be hard to take it in.

    My heart and pride soars in seeing you and our awesome volunteer crews helping folks from out of the area the same way we all try to help each other. Your professional and caring style shows…thank you!!!
    Heartfelt thanks to all agencies and rescuers, you are truly superheroes body mind and spirit. We feel safer living here because of you.

    Condolences to the family and friends, anything our community can do for yours let us know, we are here and we wont forget the ones you’ve lost ♡
    If it feels right, please come to the summer arts faire in benbow this june and soak up the goodness that happens there.

  • Kim, thank you for this site and keeping Southern California residents updated on the Thottapilly family. Peace be with them. Thank you to the rescue workers for making sure they all were found.

  • Really a sad story. Good to hear that there is closure now and healing can begin. I have been following this touching story, though I have no connection to the place nor the people involved. First of all kudos to Kim for the excellent, compassionate reporting. I had been reading the responses from the community and the outpouring love and compassion bring tears to my eyes. It is amazing how a tragedy like this brings us all together and makes us more humane. The people who were involved in the search efforts require a special mention. They risked their lives to bring closure for everyone. It will take a long time for the Thottappilly family’s smiling faces to fade from our minds, but let that remain as a sign of the goodwill that has been generated.

  • This accident has really touched me. I am so glad that all have been found. A tragic event that took a whole family. Strength and peace.

  • Garberville Volunteer Fire and
    Redway Volunteer Fire
    Both also aided in the search efforts

  • Rest In Peace. Really no words to speak…kids….iron rails with their names a good idea. Thank you and a great effort – search team.

  • Have been following this news since day one. Deeply touched by the tragedy and still not able to believe that this has happened. May the departed souls Rest In Peace. Just can’t stop thinking about them all. May God grant strength to the families!

  • Saravanan Arumugam

    So sad to see this..Great work for rescue team..

  • THIS IS SO SAD. R I P TO THE FAMILY

  • My deepest condolences for the family, Sandeep was a great co-worker and always helpful. He took his family for a year from San Francisco to New York before settling down in Los Angeles. Very quiet guy and good worker.

    Praying for the family and rest in peace Thottapilly family.

  • I can only imagine what their family is going through. My heart aches for their loss. :'(

    • I’m just curious about why people leave photos of themselves in comments here? There was another lady who did this. It seems kind of weird and unnecessary, considering how big the image ends up being. Makes it seem like it’s all about “me me me” and detracts from the actual comment. But I guess it’s just to put a human face to a sentiment.

  • Do we know if Pat Berkowitz (the teacher who saw this happen) was tailgating Sandeep?
    Reason I ask, how is it that he could see Sandeep’s car go down in his rear view mirror? You have to be very close to Sandeep’s car for that to happen. Plus, sometimes people see in the rear view mirror out of guilt if they forced someone off or if they cut them off.

    Sandeep took the turnout and Pat didn’t go far enough to miss him in the mirror.

    Just a thought.

    • The vehicle was in front of Mr. Berkowitz when it went over the edge.

    • Your version of the events is like someone’s been playing a game of telephone with you. As already stated, Mr. Berkowitz was behind the family’s car when he and his wife saw it go over. I think someone here said a rear-view mirror was seen as debris at the scene, but it was meant that a maroon side-view mirror was seen, which was a hint that the missing family’s car matched the one that went over.

  • I am deeply hurt with this heart breaking news. I have mo words to consol Sachin whom I know personally and its beyond my imagination how his parents are dealing with this tragic loss of four beautiful lives. May Gid give strength

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