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Authorities Say Investigation Into California Teen Kiely Rodni's Disappearance Is 'Struggling'

““We do not have any new leads and that I can tell you is very frustrating for us,” Placer County Sheriff’s Lt. Josh Barnhart said Wednesday in his update to the search for 16-year-old Kiely Rodni

By Jill Sederstrom
Missing Teen Kiely Rodni Found Dead In California Reservoir

California authorities say they are “struggling with clues” in the disappearance of California teenager Kiely Rodni and have asked that anyone who may have seen the 16-year-old leave a large party in the early morning hours Saturday to come forward with what they know.

“We’re trying to find out exactly what happened and at this point we believe that someone knows, someone saw her, but they are not coming forward,” Placer County Sheriff’s Lt. Josh Barnhart said during a Wednesday press conference.

Rodni was last seen around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning at a party at the Prosser Family Campground in Truckee. The teen had texted her mom around the same time to say she planned to leave the party soon, but she never returned home.

In the days that have followed, investigators from Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol and the Truckee Police Department have used air searches, ground searches, dive teams and K9s to scour the area, trying to find any sign of the missing teen.

“We do not have any new leads and that I can tell you is very frustrating for us and so we’re reiterating anyone please, anyone that was at the party that night please come to law enforcement, please go to the tip line, it is anonymous if they want to remain anonymous,” Barnhart said.

Investigators know drugs and alcohol were present at the party — an end of summer bash that is believed to have attracted anywhere from 200 to 300 teenagers — but have continued to insist that they are not interested in pursuing any charges against anyone who may have been using that night and are only interested in finding Rodni.

According to Angela Musallam, the public information officer for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the only “solid piece of evidence” investigators have been able to find at this point is a surveillance photo showing the teen at a local Truckee business at 6:08 p.m. Friday evening before authorities believe she headed to the party.

Video surveillance video of Kiely Rodni.

The image shows Rodni wearing a black spaghetti strap body suit, green Dickies brand pants, a black grommet belt and black Vans shoes.  

“That is the last photo of Kiely Rodni,” Musallam said.

Investigators also released a photo of a hooded sweatshirt that Rodni had borrowed that same day, although authorities are not sure whether or not she had been wearing the sweatshirt at the party.

“This item is of significance,” Musallam said. “We believe that Kiely was still in possession of this hoodie when she disappeared.”

The hoodie Kiely Rondi was last seen wearing

Authorities have yet to find anyone who saw the 16-year-old leaving the party and are still trying to piece together her final movements before she disappeared.

They know her phone was turned off just after 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning and said her car, a silver 2013 Honda CRV, has not been found.

an actual depiction of Kiely’s 2013 silver Honda CR-V (8YUR127-Ca) from the winter.

According to Barnhart, investigators have collected “just a ton of information and video” from gas stations, private businesses and homeowners but are still trying to pore through the information and decipher what — if any of it — could be relevant.

“There was a lot of video at the party,” he said. “We’ve done a really good job of trying to collect that as much as possible. That obviously is taking time to review, hours and hours of time to review, but we’re trying to narrow down the scope, and if Kiely was seen in any of those videos, we are following up on it.”

Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Sam Brown said that as of Wednesday, investigators had put about 3,000 man hours into finding Rodni.

“We’re struggling with clues and so searches aren’t super successful if you don’t have a direction of where to search,” he said.  “At this point, we have a point last seen and we’re expanding beyond that point last seen in a systematic way that hopefully is capturing right-of-ways and things that would make sense for somebody who was leaving the area.”

Search teams have also scoured the route she would have likely driven home that night using helicopters, dirt bikes, patrol vehicles and other vehicles, but have yet to find any sign of the teenager.

“It’s tiring for law enforcement as well and we want to be able to supply all the right answers, especially to the family,” Brown said. “It’s hard to look somebody in the face and tell them you don’t have those answers, so once again I’d encourage the public, if people know something, say something.”

Anyone with information about the case is urged to email sheriff_tahoeinvesttips@placer.ca.gov or call a specially-designated tip line at (530) 581-6320, option 7.