Couple found inside submerged car

MISSOURI CITY, TX [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

A frantic 911 call for help early yesterday morning led search teams to that pond in the Lake Shore Harbor subdivision off of Palm Harbor.

With police helicopters searching from the sky and rescuers on the water, the tragic ending family and friends were worried about was finally confirmed Thursday afternoon.

Search crews used a sonar to locate the SUV driven by Joseph Mathai and his wife, Leelamma, as they headed home from work Wednesday morning. But they never made it, instead making a frantic 911 call right just moments before they drowned at 3:30am.

"They were in the water already. There was nothing prior to that and we have no reason to believe there was foul play involved," said Captain John Bailey with the Missouri City Police Department. "Hopefully the car will reveal some answers, but it may not."

Divers recovered the couple and their SUV beneath 25 feet of water Thursday afternoon. Shocked friends and family looked on.

The Mathais leave behind a son and a daughter. All attend an orthodox church nearby. Friends of the family say the daughter and son are devastated.

"I just gave them a hug and said everything's going to be alright," said family friend Jithin Jacob. "I didn't know what to say."

both the Mathais and their grown children were active in the local church. They were supposed to go back to India for a celebratory occasion in a few weeks. It's a trip they'll no longer have the opportunity to make.

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