Kiely Rodni Case: Missing California 16-Year-Old Likely Found Dead by Volunteer Divers in Submerged Car

Kiely's car was discovered by civilian volunteers from a nationally renowned search team called Adventures with Purpose. They spoke to Inside Edition about their search efforts.

A body discovered by volunteer divers inside a submerged car is likely that of a 16-year-old northern California girl who went missing two weeks ago, authorities said Monday.

Kiely Rodni was last seen alive as she was leaving a campground party near Lake Tahoe, a few hundred yards from the reservoir where the body was found. The party was attended by an estimated 300 other young people. 

“We have located a decedent inside the vehicle. We believe it’s our missing person," Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon said at a press conference. 

Law enforcement spent two weeks and 20,000 man hours searching in vain for the 16-year-old, including the use of police divers, who probed the very reservoir where the body was found.

But Kiely's car and the body were discovered by civilian volunteers from a nationally renowned search team called Adventures with Purpose.

“It's an honor to be able to provide answers for families and law enforcement agencies, and we couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” diver Doug Bishop said.

“It's not necessarily that our technology is better [than police], it's that we use it more often and that's literally what we specialize in,” diver Nick Rinn said. 

Local police also addressed why they did not find Kiely’s body when they searched the reservoir the first time.

“How did we not find it when we were searching? The lake was extensively searched, with sight sonar, with an ROV, we had divers, we had swimmers,” Capt. Sam Brown said.

Adventures with Purpose says they have solved 23 cold cases since 2019 — mainly missing persons, finally bringing closure to families that have waited decades for a resolution.

Kiely's case received national attention after fears she'd been abducted. The teen texted her mom around 11:30 p.m. to say she was heading home from the campground party.

Moon said it was still a “very active investigation.”

It’s unclear whether foul play was involved or it was just a tragic accident.

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