Mother who intentionally drove family off cliff was drunk

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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. Their three other adopted children are missing, 16-year-old Hannah Hart, 12-year-old Sierra Hart and 15-year-old Devonte Hart, who is known for a viral photo in which he is hugging a police officer in November 2014.

All eight are presumed dead, police said.

The Sheriff added that searchers were continuing to search for the missing family members and their vehicle which is believed to still be submerged somewhere in the Eel River.


The vehicle is reported to have submerged in the river around 1:10 pm on April 6. "Several items have been positively identified, by the family members, as belonging to the Thottapilly family", it said.

"The teams were unsuccessful in locating the vehicle or any occupants from the vehicle".

Two more are missing, and another body has been found but not identified.


Greg Van Patten said that rescue searchers came upon a body as they were looking for a vehicle seen going into the Eel River last week, which matched the description of the Thottapilly family auto.

The body was found seven miles downstream from the location where it was reported to the California Highway Patrol at 1:10 p.m. last Friday that a vehicle went over a steep embankment on U.S. Highway 101 south of Dora Creek, north of Leggett.

The family was heading home to Santa Clarita after a vacation in Portland, Oregon, and was last seen in Klamath in Del Norte County. As the waters receded, the rescue team recovered some personal items and numerous parts of the vehicle, a maroon Honda Pilot, believed to be driven by the family.


And authorities have said social services officials in OR contacted the West Linn Police Department about the family in 2013 while they were living in the area.

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