Searchers Find Woman's Body in Eel River

All eight members of the Hart family died when their SUV plunged off a 30m cliff in California

All eight members of the Hart family died when their SUV plunged off a 30m cliff in California

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.

The Mendocino County Coroner's office recovered the body on Friday about seven miles south of where the SUV was seen entering the rain-swollen river.

According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, the California Highway Patrol believes that the driver was pulling over to the side of the road amid heavy rain, and may have miscalculated the edge of the road. They were traveling from Portland to Los Angeles, when, it is suspected, that their auto veered off the road into the river on April 6, a rainy, windy day.

Personal belongings of the four members of the family from Santa Clarita in California, who were believed to be travelling through Humboldt and Mendocino County on US-101 while on a vacation, were also found by the team over a two-day period on Tuesday and Wednesday, officials said. Alexandra Argyropoulos, who told The Associated Press previously that she contacted OR child welfare officials, said in an email Friday that Jennifer Hart ran the household "like a regimented boot camp". Five bodies were found March 26 near Mendocino, a few days after Washington state authorities began investigating the Harts for possible child neglect, but three of their children were not immediately recovered from the scene along the shoreline.

The items had turned up over the course of searches of the South Fork of the Eel River over the past two days, the statement said.

Anxious acquaintances and relatives shared information online about the Thottapilly family, their smiling faces beaming out from missing persons posters. They used an underwater probe to see if the vehicle or anything metallic could be located.

The family members were identified as Sandeep Thottapilly, 41; Soumya Thottapilly, 38; Siddhant Thottapilly, 12; and Saachi Thottapilly, 9.

The family was last heard from in the town of Klamath, Del Norte County, on April 5. The California Highway Patrol said this week that a submerged vehicle had been spotted but then lost in the current.

The family was officially reported as missing to the San Jose Police Department on April 8.

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