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Missing California Teen Kiely Rodni’s Mom Shares Final Text, When She ‘Knew Something Was Wrong’
Kiely Rodni texted her mom late Friday night from a large party at a local campground, promising to come home within 45 minutes. The 16-year-old never arrived, and no one's seen her since.
Missing California teen Kiely Rodni sent her mom one final message late Friday night.
The 16-year-old texted her mom, Lindsey Rodni-Nieman, from a party at the Prosser Family Campground in Truckee — about 15 miles north of Lake Tahoe — saying she planned to leave the party in 45 minutes and would come “straight home.”
“I told her to be safe and that I loved her. And she said, ‘Ok, mom, I love you, too,” Rodni-Nieman told ABC News.
But Rodni never made it home and she — and her silver 2013 Honda CRV — are still missing days later, despite extensive ground and helicopter searches to find the teen.
“Numerous resources and agencies have responded to help locate Kiely over the past several days,” the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said in an update Tuesday. “This includes investigators and search and rescue specialists from across the region.”
Authorities say Rodni was last seen at the party, which had attracted as many as 300 attendees, around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
Angela Musallam, the public information officer for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, told ABC News on Monday that Rodni's cell phone “went dead” shortly after she was last seen and the teenager became “virtually untraceable.”
When Rodni-Nieman woke up Saturday morning and discovered her daughter had never made it home, she called and texted Rodni but got no response.
“That’s when I knew something was wrong,” she said, describing the disappearance as “out of character” for her daughter, who had been looking forward to starting college in the fall.
Rodni had skipped a grade, graduated early and was planning to study music at Sierra College outside of Sacramento, according to The Reno Gazette.
Rodni’s friend, Sami Smith, told Fox News that the teens had been drinking that night and she said Rodni had enough to be drunk. She doesn’t think her friend would have gotten behind the wheel in that condition.
“For the amount of drinks we both had together, she’s not that dumb," she added, by way of explaining why she doesn’t believe Rodni would have gotten behind the wheel that night.
"At the point when I left, I thought she was going to stay there," she added. "Everybody was camping. It was late enough that she should have stayed. She’s not the type to go and drunk drive or anything."
Smith left not long before Rodni was last seen and told The Reno Gazette she had spoken to the 16-year-old on the phone around midnight after Rodni had called to find out where she was.
“I got a ride. Don’t worry,” Smith said she reassured her before adding “I love you.”
It was the last time she’d speak with Rodni.
Smith admitted the pair had met some strangers that night and said they were probably both a little too trusting, but didn’t notice anything or anyone that night that gave her any concerns.
"I remember we were partying together. She was having fun," Smith said. "She seemed really happy — she was like normal, just on an adrenaline rush. Saying ‘Hi’ to everybody.”
Authorities have said they are exploring all possibilities and have not ruled out an abduction.
“We want to leave no stone unturned. We take this case, just like any other missing persons case, extremely seriously,” Musallam told KCRA. “Kiely’s considered to be incredibly at risk right now because she’s a minor and she is missing and we cannot locate her or her vehicle.”
They released an image Tuesday of the clothes the teen had been wearing to the party, which included a black spaghetti strap body suit, green Dickies brand pants, a black grommet belt and black Vans shoes.
On Tuesday morning, search crews descended on Lake Prosser to search by boat while other ground and aerial searches got underway. Authorities utilized specially-trained K-9s, dirt bikes and four-wheelers to canvass the area in the hopes of finding any clues.
Along with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol have all provided resources to help in the search efforts.
Rodni’s family is just hoping that someone with information about her whereabouts will come forward to share what they know.
“We're so scared and we miss her so much, and we love her so much. And Kiely we love you and if you see this, please just, please just come home," Rodni-Nieman said in a video released by the sheriff’s department. "I want nothing more than to hug you. If anybody else out there, if you know where she is, if you know anything about where she might be if you have any ideas or thoughts please come forward and share them."
Anyone with information about the case can email email@example.com or call a specially-designated tip line at (530) 581-6320, option 7.