The 16-year-old vanished Aug. 6 after attending a “senior send-off” party north of Lake Tahoe in northern California, near the Prosser Family Campground in Truckee.
A dive team, Adventures with Purpose, discovered Rodni’s body Sunday inside her car that was upside down in 14 feet of water in Prosser Reservoir, just a few hundred yards away from the campground.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office and nearly a dozen other law enforcement agencies searched the Tahoe National Forest for the recent graduate and her 2013 silver Honda CRV for roughly two weeks. The team of divers, popular on YouTube, told NewsNation it took them 35 minutes to identify the shadow of a vehicle during their search.
“After about approximately 35 minutes on the water, I spotted something on my sonar that obviously looked out of place. It was causing a big shadow,” Adventures with Purpose diver Nick Rinn told NewsNation’s “Banfield.” “It looked very peculiar to me. I called Doug, told them, ‘Hey, you better get over here. And let’s put another set of eyes on this. See what we see and see if you can figure out what it is.’ We both agreed that it did look like a vehicle.”
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office said they combed through hundreds of tips since an estimated 200 or more teenagers and young adults went to the senior bash. They eventually scaled back their search efforts before the body was located.
Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said they are in touch with Kiely’s family and offering their deepest condolences during this extremely difficult time.
In a previous interview with NewsNation, Rodni’s mother, Lindsey Rodni-Nieman, described her daughter as a special and dynamic woman who loved playing music, science, baking and dancing.
“There doesn’t seem to be anybody ever who I come across who doesn’t just love her,” her mother said. “She was so smart. She’s so funny. She’s great with little kids. I could go on and on about everything.”
Kiely’s father, Daniel Rodni, said in a prior interview that the last few weeks have been absolute agony for the family.
“Every day is a roller coaster. Emotions are out of control,” he said.
A post from the Rodni-Nieman family on findkiely.com, the website used to spread awareness on the search for Kiely, has the following message:
“We are eternally grateful for the love and support you have shown us in the last couple of weeks. 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. Mr. Rogers famously told a story of “looking for the helpers” whenever he saw scary things in the news. We have not had to look for the helpers, as you have all come to our rescue in full force. We are forever indebted to you.”
“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 investigation into the circumstances surrounding Rodni’s case is ongoing. Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the Placer County Sheriff’s Office at 530-886-5375.