Kiely Rodni's family confirms she has died: 'Kiely will surely remain with us'

An SUV is pulled from Prosser Lake in Truckee on Aug. 21, 2022.

An SUV is pulled from Prosser Lake in Truckee on Aug. 21, 2022.

KCRA/Courtesy

Within a day of a popular search-and-rescue YouTube channel arriving in Tahoe last weekend to find Kiely Rodni, an SUV was located and dredged from Prosser Lake near where the teen was last seen. On Tuesday, the Nevada County Sheriff-Coroner conducted an autopsy and announced the body found inside the vehicle is Kiely's.

The Rodni-Nieman family issued a statement on Monday afternoon confirming that Kiely died. 

"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 statement reads. 

"There are certain occasions when words fail. Perhaps this is why our human nature has given us art, dance, and music, which all are often more effective ways to connect us to each other and our rawest emotions. Kindly excuse us while we retreat and dance privately to life's song while we celebrate our daughter's spirit and heal our souls."

Kiely's family runs the Lost Trail Lodge in Truckee, about a 12-mile drive from the Prosser campground. The lodge has been temporarily closed since she went missing. 

Kiely Rodni, 16, was last seen in Truckee on Aug. 6, 2022. 

Kiely Rodni, 16, was last seen in Truckee on Aug. 6, 2022. 

Placer County Sheriff's Office/Handout

The vehicle was located by Adventures With Purpose, a dive team YouTube channel with nearly 2.5 million subscribers. The team focuses primarily on cold cases and uses sonar to search bodies of water for missing persons. The channel announced on Facebook Sunday that they were going to search for Kiely, and they later posted that they found a body in her "upside down" vehicle at a point in the lake that is 14 feet deep. According to Captain Sam Brown of the Nevada County Sheriff's Office, that Facebook post was also how law enforcement learned the team was at Prosser Lake.

"With a 150 law enforcement professionals, it’s possible that a call came in that something happened," Brown said. "But from the unified command and talking with my partners, none of us were aware of an initial [call] so we tasked the investigate sergeant with contacting them and reaching out. I believe, best I know, we did that proactively on our end."

Brown said he didn't know if Adventures With Purpose reached out to Kiely's family before posting the announcement on Facebook. "I think there’s still some sketchy details on how that contact went out, so I don’t want to speak on behalf the family," Brown said. 

A photo of Kiely Rodni's 2013 silver Honda CRV with the California license plate 8YUR127.

A photo of Kiely Rodni's 2013 silver Honda CRV with the California license plate 8YUR127.

Placer County Sheriff's Office/Handout

Brown said law enforcement have yet to debrief with the members of Adventures With Purpose. When they do, Brown said they are interested in finding out the techniques the group used in an area already searched by sheriff's office dive and swim teams.

"How did we not find it when we were searching? The lake was extensively searched with sight, sonar, with an ROV [remotely operated vehicle]. We had diver, we had swimmers," Brown said. "I think that’s part of what we’re going to have to go back to do and debrief... That’s where a group like Adventures With Purpose is able to focus and practice those skills and really hone them."

"Once you find the answer, on hindsight everything looks 20/20," he added. "The reality is that it’s not that simple."

Kiely, 16, went missing on Aug. 6 after attending a party of 200-300 teens and young adults at the Prosser Family Campground in Truckee. Shortly after texting her mother that she would be home in “45 minutes,” Kiely and her silver Honda CRV disappeared. No one apparently witnessed her leaving the campground, and the frantic search for her has involved hundreds of searchers, the FBI and multiple dive teams. Her last known cell phone ping was around 12:30 a.m. near Prosser Lake. 

Helicopter footage from KCRA showed an SUV being pulled from Prosser Lake late Sunday evening. Officials said the vehicle was found was not far from the campground.

An investigation is ongoing. California Highway Patrol is taking the lead on investigating the accident, with the FBI offering its services to inspect the SUV. Officials said an autopsy will be conducted Tuesday, and the results from a toxicology screening will be available in four to six weeks.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated law enforcement was not contacted by Adventures With Purpose before the dive team began investigating Prosser Lake. The story was updated at 2 p.m. on Aug. 22 to clarify the timeline of their interactions.