- Officials believe a body found in a California lake is that of missing teen Kiely Rodni.
- A private dive team located the body in a submerged vehicle in Prosser Lake on Sunday.
- The body has not been officially identified, officials said Monday.
A body recovered from a vehicle submerged in a California lake on Sunday is most likely missing teen Kiely Rodni, law enforcement officials said at a Monday morning press conference.
The 16-year-old was last seen in the early hours of August 6, attending a party near the Prosser Family Campground in Truckee, California. Initial reports stated that police were investigating the possibility that Rodni had been abducted.
But after weeks of extensive searches, it was a private dive team that appears to have solved the case.
Adventures With Purpose — a private dive team that aids in missing person’s cases — posted on its Facebook page Sunday that its divers found a car upside down in Prosser Lake with Rodni inside. The group then notified her family and called law enforcement, it said.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office, which had been leading the missing person’s investigation, released an initial statement saying it had been informed of Adventures With Purpose’s discovery but that the identity of the body had not yet been confirmed.
By Monday morning, the body still hadn’t been officially identified, but Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon said “we believe it is her,” referring to Rodni.
As to why a private dive team found the sunken vehicle before law enforcement agencies, officials said the fact that they had ruled out a lot of areas earlier in the investigation narrowed down the search and made it easier for anyone looking.
The California Highway Patrol is now conducting a traffic collision investigation into how the vehicle ended up in the lake.
Sami Smith, one of Rodni’s friends, previously told CBS Sacramento that she was with Rodni for most of the party and that Rodni was not “in the right mindset or state to drive.”
“If she were to have driven, she wouldn’t have made it far,” Smith said before the body’s discovery.
The body located Sunday was found “relatively close” to the party site, according to Josh Ehlers of the California Highway Patrol.