TRUCKEE, Calif. — Divers looking for missing California youngster Kiely Rodni said they have found a body and an upset vehicle in the repository close where she was most recently seen over about fourteen days prior.
A plunge group found what they accept is the 2013 Honda CRV that Rodni, 16, headed to a graduation celebration close to the lake out of Prosser Creek Reservoir Sunday evening.
The jumper who recognized the vehicle under the water told The Post that its tag matches the plate of the Honda Rodni was driving at the hour of her vanishing.
In any case, police couldn’t promptly distinguish the body. A representative for Rodni’s family said they had not affirmed the body was the high schooler’s.
The Placer County Sheriff, California Highway Patrol and Truckee Police are on site with a flatbed tow truck and two police divers have suited up.
Rodni was last seen at the park in Truckee, California on Aug. 6. Fellow party-goers had reported that she had been drinking at the party.
Dive crew Adventures With Purpose was recruited by law enforcement for the probe and began searching the reservoir Sunday.
The Oregon-based crew of six divers gave it another go in hopes of finding any sign of Rodni, after at least three police dive teams have already searched the reservoir.
The divers searched nearly every body of water near Truckee, CA before probing the water closest to where the party was held one last time.
The team had been assured by law enforcement on the ground that the body of water had already been searched thoroughly, but decided to check again.
“Police told us they did a rigorous search of this body of water,”
diver Josh Cantu, 31, said.
“They gave us a grid map and made us confident we didn’t need to search here.”
Within a few minutes of diving, one of the team members, Nick Rinn, 48, found a body in a car close to shore.
“I went down and did my inspection. I saw the vehicle upside down, verified the license plate and that there were remains in the vehicle,”
Rinn told The Post.
“Then I came out, we called the family and authorities and let them take it from there.”
He said he first spotted the car — which was not visible from the surface — via sonar. Once in the water, he said he could see it when he got down about 14 feet.
“Our sonar showed an object bigger than a rock that shouldn’t have been there,”
Cantu said, adding that sonar tech can miss large objects if operators aren’t properly trained.
“One of our divers went underwater and was able to identify a vehicle.”
The water levels in the reservoir had been higher two weeks ago during previous police searches, Rinn added.
“Now the water has receded and we’re seeing the vehicle went farther into the water than maybe [police] thought,”
“When a vehicle goes in the water, it has air trapped in it for a while so it will float for a little ways before it fills with water and sinks.”
The car and body were found about 20 to 40 feet from the water’s edge near a section of Prosser Family Campground where the party was held. The area is known to locals as “The Sanctuary” and overlooks the Prosser Creek Reservoir.
Earlier in the day, another member of the dive team told The Post that locating a vehicle would make the search for Rodni easier.
“If there’s a car in here, it will be easy for us to find,”
diver Doug Bishop, 39, said.
“To hide a body is one thing, to conceal a vehicle is entirely different.”
He said his team on Saturday
“already cleared everything in Truckee, including all the little ponds, based on confidential information we received in regards to her disappearance.”
The six divers in the AWP crew first spent four hours imaging the surface of the reservoir in two inflatable boats kitted out with sonar to get a better sense of what they were up against.
The team also surveyed the reservoir from a hot air balloon.
“Obviously it’s a double-edged sword,”
Rinn said about finally finding the car and body.
“It’s something you don’t want to find in this type of scenario, but at the same time it’s good to bring some answers for family and law enforcement.”
In the past two-and-a-half years, AWP said they have solved 23 cold cases and found around 500 vehicles underwater, 187 of which they have recovered.
“This is a completely different scale of resources applied to the case already,”
The discovery of the car and body comes more than two weeks after Rodni was reported missing and after officials announced that they would scale back the massive search for the teenager.
Rodni was last seen at the party — in the company of about 100 people — around 12:30 a.m. and had texted her mom that she was heading home soon, but she never made it back.
Her phone last pinged at 12:33 a.m. about 50 feet from where the car and body were found, according to private investigator Stephen Fischer who has been voluntarily searching for the missing teen.
Fischer, 52, told The Post that he broke the news that a car and body had been found to Rodni’s father and grandfather.
“I feel horrible for this family,”
he said, choking back tears.
A day earlier, the teen’s family asked for privacy and said they are not speaking with the media.
“It is in our hearts that you are out there and we will find you and bring you home,”
the family said in a statement about Kiely on Saturday.
Investigators had feared Rodni may have been abducted and conducted a sweep of registered sex offenders in the Lake Tahoe region as part of the missing person case.