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Authorities Confirm Body Pulled From California Reservoir Is Missing Teen Kiely Rodni
Kiely Rodni's body was found Sunday inside her SUV, which was submerged in Prosser Reservoir not far from where she'd attended a party before going missing.
An autopsy has confirmed that the remains pulled Sunday from California’s Prosser Reservoir belong to missing 16-year-old Kiely Rodni.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Rodni’s identity in a statement Tuesday officially ending the more than two-week long search to find the missing teen, who disappeared Aug. 6 after attending a summer graduation bash in Truckee.
“The Placer County Sheriff’s Office and Nevada County Sheriff’s Office are in communication with Kiely’s family and offer our deepest condolences to them during this extremely difficult time,” authorities said, noting that it was an “ongoing investigation.”
The teen’s cause of death has yet to be revealed.
Rodni’s body was discovered Sunday inside her submerged 2013 Honda CRV by the private search team Adventures with Purpose.
The organization said in a video statement after the discovery that they placed two sonar boats in the water around 10:40 a.m. Sunday morning and had detected “an object in the water” less than an hour later using “cutting edge” sonar equipment.
The vehicle was 14 feet below the surface and about 55 feet off the shore. Lead diver Doug Bishop said Adventures with Purpose notified local law enforcement authorities, who worked to pull the vehicle from the water.
“The Placer County Sheriff’s department, Nevada County Sheriff’s department (and) the entire Placer County Sheriff’s Dive team has been incredible to work with,” Bishop said. “We understand that the resource we provide with our unique skillset is rare and it is an honor to help agencies and families all across the nation.”
Group member Nick Rinn said the dive team's thoughts and prayers were with Rodni's family.
"Hug your loved ones a little tighter and take time to take time because we never know when it will be our last opportunity to do so," he said.
The discovery marks a heartbreaking end to the search effort to find Rodni.
She had been one of about 300 teens and young adults to attend an Aug. 5 party at the Prosser Family Campground in Truckee, California to celebrate graduation and the end of summer before people went their separate ways in the fall.
Rodni—whose friends say had been drinking that night—texted her mom that she would be home soon before her phone pinged for the final time around 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 6 and then shut off, investigators said.
With few clues to go on, investigators had considered the possibility that the teen met with foul play.
For weeks, law enforcement agencies from across the region joined together to search from the ground, air and water for any sign of the 16-year-old.
Capt. Sam Brown of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office couldn’t say why investigators been unable to locate the vehicle earlier and said the area had been “extensively searched” with divers, sonar equipment and a remotely operated vehicle, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
“Underwater tracking is a very difficult thing to do,” he said, adding that Adventures with Purpose are highly trained experts focused solely on search and recovery and have access to high-end equipment that other organizations may not have available.
In the aftermath of her death, Rodni’s family thanked authorities for their extensive efforts to try to find the teen.
“We are eternally grateful for the love and support you have shown us in the last couple of weeks,” the Rodni-Nieman family said in a statement obtained by Fox News. “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.”
They plan to focus now on honoring their daughter’s life.
“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,” the family said.