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Crime News Breaking News

Body Pulled From Reservoir 'Believed' To Be Missing 16-Year-Old Kiely Rodni, Authorities Say

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a volunteer dive team found the remains, along with a vehicle Sunday. An official identification is pending.

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

A body believed to be missing teen Kiely Rodni, along with a vehicle, was pulled from a reservoir not far from where she disappeared earlier this month, authorities say.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in an announcement Sunday that the volunteer search group Adventures with Purpose had found the car and body in the Prosser Reservoir earlier that day, but did not immediately identify the body.

The vehicle was covered in tarps shortly after it was pulled from the water and officials from the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, Placer County Sheriff’s Office, FBI and other agencies descended on the scene to investigate the search group’s findings, according to KCRA.

At a news conference Monday morning, Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon said that while there is still no official confirmation, "we believe it is our missing person."  

In a statement to NBC News, Adventure with a Purpose confirmed it had found a vehicle in “14 feet of water” about 300 yards from the campground where Rodni was last seen. The team had used sonar imaging technology to find the vehicle.

The 16-year-old had been one of about 300 teenagers and young adults to attend a post-graduation celebration at the Prosser Family Campground in Truckee, California on Aug. 5. Her cell phone last pinged around 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 6 before it shut off, authorities have said.

Rodni’s friend Sami Smith—who had been at the party with her that night—previously told Fox News that the pair had been drinking that night. Smith left the party just a few minutes before Rodni was last seen and said she believed her friend had planned to stay at the campground for the night, noting she’s “not the type to go and drunk drive or anything.”

But Rodni’s mom, Lindsey Rodni-Nieman told ABC News the final text she got from her daughter said she was planning to leave the party and would be home soon.

"I told her to be safe and that I loved her. And she said, 'OK, mom, I love you, too,'" Rodni-Nieman said.

The teen’s family released a statement Saturday, a day before the body was discovered, saying they were pulling back from the spotlight.

"As we remind one another to breath deep and focus on our own self-care, we find ourselves needing a private and quiet space to begin healing and secure our footing before stepping into tomorrow," said the statement, obtained by NBC News. "We will celebrate together when you are home and make our harmony perfect again. We love you Kiely, forever and always.”

A police handout of missing teen Kiely Rodni

The teen’s disappearance sparked a massive search effort by multiple law enforcement agencies, who embarked on ground, water and air searches in the days that followed to try to find any sign of Rodni or her missing silver 2013 Honda CRV.

Investigators have said they were looking into all options, including a possible abduction.

Adventures with Purpose joined the search Friday shortly after authorities announced they were scaling back their own search to focus on more investigative efforts in the case.

The volunteer dive team has helped solve 23 cold cases and recover over 100 vehicles in the last two years.

“What makes us successful is … we don’t have red tape that other agencies have, you know?” lead diver Doug Bishop explained to KOLO. “A lot of times their hands are tied, their policies prevent them from doing certain things.”

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office said a press conference will be held Monday at 11 a.m. PT to provide more details about the latest findings.