Body found in Nevada Co. lake believed to be missing Truckee teen, sheriff's office says

Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Body found in lake believed to be missing Truckee teen: officials
Authorities now believe that a body found by volunteer divers in a Nevada County reservoir is 16-year-old Kiely Rodni.

TRUCKEE, Calif. (KGO) -- In a press conference on Monday, officers provided an update on the search for 16-year-old Kiely Rodni, who has been missing since early August. A private dive team said on Sunday they found the teen in a Nevada County lake.

Sheriff Shannan Moon said the body has not been identified but it is believed to be Rodni. Volunteer divers with a private search group on YouTube called Adventures with Purpose announced Sunday that they found the teen inside her car, under about 14 feet of water in the Prosser Reservoir, not far from the campground.

VIDEO: Search and rescue group says they've found body, car of missing Truckee teen in Nevada Co. lake

The body and car belonging to missing Truckee girl Kiely Rodni was found in Prosser Creek Reservoir, says the rescue group Adventures with Purpose.

"We've recovered the vehicle. We recovered the vehicle last night. We have located a decedent inside the vehicle. We believe it is our missing person. We have not been able to positively identify but it's more than likely where we are today," Sheriff Moon said.

She says officials wanted to make sure the family had all the information first.

Nevada County sheriff's Capt. Sam Brown said the law enforcement task force now needs to determine how and why Adventures with Purpose divers found Rodni's body despite searches in the area by the task force. He said it was not yet clear whether the volunteer group had better equipment or advanced training - or both - that the sheriff's offices and other agencies may not have.

"In hindsight, everything looks 20/20," Brown said. "The reality is, it's not that simple. It is pretty complex and it's tough."

Retired Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman has played a major role in high profile search and rescues.

He says search and rescue or "SAR" teams are often not staffed up enough or equipped with the highest-level technology, especially when it comes to more difficult missions like diving.

"A lot of times, you know, SAR teams are voluntary arms of the sheriff, so search and rescue teams are comprised of volunteers," he said, "It couldn't afford to pay for them on a regular basis."

As law enforcement continues to look into what they may have missed, Shapelhouman says the discovery is far from a celebratory event. Still he says all involved in the search should feel proud about helping to bring some sense of closure to a grieving family.

"I wouldn't fault the sheriff, but I would definitely compliment those that did the work because that's very, very difficult, dangerous work that they've chosen to do, and then volunteer their time to do that," he said.

VIDEO: Kiely Rodni: New image released of hoodie in possession of Truckee teen the night she went missing

The Placer County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday released a surveillance image of Kiely Rodni, the missing 16-year-old girl in the Lake Tahoe area.

Brown would not say whether there were any signs of foul play discovered in Rodni's car.

Rodni was last seen at a large party on Aug. 6.

Officials say an autopsy on the body found in the car will be conducted on Tuesday.

The sheriff's office says this is still an active investigation.

RELATED: Family of missing 16-year-old pleads for her return after she was abducted from Truckee campground

On Monday, Kiely Rodni's family released the following statement:

"We are eternally grateful for the love and support you have shown us in the last couple of weeks. We have weathered a storm of unfathomable force, and it is purely thanks to the army of warriors, matriarchs, healers, and helpers holding us up that we continue to stand today. Mr. Rogers famously told a story of 'looking for the helpers' whenever he saw scary things in the news. We have not had to look for the helpers, as you have all come to our rescue in full force. We are forever indebted to you.

While we accept this sadness cast under death's shadow, the rising sun shines light upon us, reminding us not to mourn our loss, but to celebrate Kiely's spirit and the gift that we all received in knowing her. Kiely will surely remain with us even though we will not get her back.

There are certain occasions when words fail. Perhaps this is why our human nature has given us art, dance, and music, which all are often more effective ways to connect us to each other and our rawest emotions. Kindly excuse us as we retreat and dance privately to life's song while we celebrate our daughter's spirit and heal our souls."

Sunday evening, an SUV could be seen being pulled out of the Prosser Creek Reservoir in Nevada County by authorities, who went so far as to cover the windows with tarps so that no one could see inside the vehicle.

This comes hours after Adventures With Purpose posted to Facebook saying, "We just found Kiely Rodni. Car is upside down in only 14 feet of water. We have confirmed Kiely is inside. Family notified. Law enforcement on the way."

Adventures With Purpose is a dive team dedicated to helping families of missing loved ones.

The Nevada County Sheriff's Office only said, "We are on scene and working with Adventures With Purpose to locate and remove the vehicle in question. We have not been able to confirm that it is her vehicle or that she is inside."

From a distance, you can see that the vehicle taken out of the water looks just like the SUV that Rodni was in.

Authorities have put in around 20,000 man hours in the search for Rodni. The Adventures With Purpose group had only been searching for 24 hours when they claimed to have found her.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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