TRUCKEE, Calif. — On Sunday afternoon, diving nonprofit Adventures With Purpose announced that it had found the remains of missing 16-year-old Kiely Rodni.
At a press conference on Monday, Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon announced that Rodni’s vehicle was found inside the Prosser Creek Reservoir and, while unconfirmed, the person found there inside the vehicle would be Rodni.
“We believe this is our missing person,” said Moon, who added that the vehicle was in the area the parties have been looking for since Rodni disappeared from the Prosser Family Campground around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. August 6.
About 200 to 300 teens and young adults from the area and as far away as the Bay Area reportedly attended a party in the area that night.
“It’s an incredible demonstration of the commitment of all of our agencies to our community here,” Moon said. “The amount of effort that all of these agencies have put in is really, really the reason we’re here today.”
In total, local, state and federal law enforcement spent nearly 20,000 man-hours searching for Rodni. Ultimately, she was found, officials say, a relatively short distance from the party she had attended that evening.
“The lake was extensively searched with side-scan sonar, with an ROV, we had divers, we had swimmers,” Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Captain Sam Brown said. “I think that’s part of what we’re going to have to do and debrief. When peace officers are in the field and volunteers and researchers, it does not mean that they are experts in the field. Sometimes these are auxiliary tasks or calls from other agencies to try to intervene, and underwater tracking is an extremely difficult thing to do.
Brown then praised Adventures With Purpose’s efforts to find the vehicle.
“Obviously their diving expertise, their equipment that they brought to the table helped us, and we appreciate that,” he said.
California Highway Patrol’s Joshua Ehlers said the department is investigating the fatal collisions and, at this time, no foul play is suspected.
“It’s a very popular neighborhood,” Ehlers said. “There’s a lot of foot traffic, a lot of car traffic on and off the road.”
The vehicle was reportedly found upside down in approximately 14 feet of water. Brown said the vehicle is believed to have been in the tank since Rodni’s disappearance.
“Looking back, it all looks 20-20,” Brown said. “The reality is that it’s not that simple. It’s quite complex and it’s difficult…we just appreciate that the resources have come out and been able to help us.
Investigators said it was too early to determine if the person in the vehicle attempted to escape. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, according to Capt. Troy Minton-Sander of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, and toxicology results should be available in four to six weeks.
Rodni had recently graduated from Forest Charter High School in Truckee and planned to attend the University of California, Santa Cruz.