Autopsy confirms body found in Nevada Co. lake is missing Truckee teen

Wednesday, August 24, 2022
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Nevada County Coroner's autopsy confirms body found in Prosser Reservoir is that of 16-year-old Kiely Rodni.

TRUCKEE, Calif. (KGO) -- An autopsy conducted by the Nevada County Coroner on Tuesday confirmed that a body found inside a car submerged in the Prosser Creek Reservoir on Sunday is that of 16-year-old Kiely Rodni, who disappeared after going to a large youth party earlier this month, authorities said.

No other results of the autopsy were released in a Facebook post by the Nevada County Sheriff's Office.

"This is an ongoing investigation, and no other information is available at this time," it said.

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.

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

"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.

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

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

Rodni was last seen alive Aug. 6 at a party of hundreds of youth at a campground at Prosser Creek Reservoir in Tahoe National Forest, about 165 miles (266 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.

How she ended up in the water is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol's major accident investigation team.

The area has curvy roads, and photos of the area where the car was pulled out of the reservoir show a wide expanse of bare shoreline that appears to gradually slope toward the water.

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."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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