Kiely Rodni: California police ‘modifying’ search effort next week as few signs of missing teen emerge
The search for missing 16-year-old Kiely Rodni will be scaled down to a “task force”-based investigation next week, California investigators said Monday, 10 days after the teen vanished under disturbing circumstances.
“We are still looking for any clues, videos, tips, any information to help us to put pieces together and help us to direct where we’re going and how we’re going to continue to do a search,” Capt. Sam Brown, of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, said during a Monday news briefing. “We are moving into a more limited but continuous search and rescue effort.”
He said the massive interagency search effort has put in more than 9,000 man-hours since Rodni was reported missing on Aug. 6.
“Our biggest problem is where do we go, and how do we keep sustaining this?” he added.
The search started last week in the immediate area of where the girl’s phone had last pinged, near the Prosser Creek Reservoir, and has steadily expanded outward. Police have been unable to locate the girl, her SUV or any other signs.
And they say they have still not found anyone who actually saw Rodni leaving the area before she went missing. They are asking for anyone who may have taken photos or videos to share them with investigators.
“I’d like to say that we’re putting the pedal down, that we are continuing to work this week, and that after this week we will be modifying things to a task force style,” said Lt. Josh Barnhart, of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. “That means our resources will continue to move forward, but in somewhat of a different manner.”
The FBI has partnered with local detectives to conduct interviews with people at the party and residents who live nearby, and the public has largely been cooperative, Barnhart said.
“I would say for the most part, everyone has been very cooperative,” he said.
Detectives have also overcome earlier resistance from at least one parent who allegedly told their children, who had attended the party, not to aid in the investigation.
“Many people have come forward and given us information, but we haven’t run into very large roadblocks and people not wanting to give us information,” Barnhart said. “I think [that] was probably an isolated incident that we were able to get past.”
Rodni, who was last seen at a packed outdoor party with hundreds of other young people just after midnight on Aug. 6, has an outdoorsy upbringing and strong resolve, according to Cassie Hebel, a family friend and spokesperson.
“She has more than the survival skills to make it back,” she said Monday. “She was raised in a family where they know how to survive in the outback, in the ‘Back 40’ as I like to say. That is where she was raised.”
The party, near the Prosser Family Campground in the Tahoe National Forest, involved between 200 and 300 juveniles and young adults, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. There was suspected use of drugs and alcohol, and Rodni’s friend told Fox News Digital last week the girl was likely too drunk to have attempted driving.
Investigators earlier Monday released an image of a pink and white hoodie that Rodni was seen wearing on the night she vanished — possibly due to an abduction. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office released only a stock image of the garment, a white hooded sweatshirt with pink block letters spelling out “ODD FUTURE” — the name of a Los Angeles hip-hop group. Investigators said she appeared on video wearing it earlier in the evening.
Angela Musallam, a spokesperson for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, said during a Monday news briefing investigators were not ready to release the photo.
Separately, she told Fox News Digital, it contains no person of interest. She declined to discuss the video further, citing the open comment investigation.
At 16, Rodni had a full driver’s license and a silver 2013 Honda CRV, which is also missing, Hebel said Monday. She graduated high school early and with honors and hoped to study pediatric orthopedics and music in college. Her 17th birthday is next month.
The car has a ram head sticker under the rear windshield wiper, according to police. Hebel said it has no particular significance other than being an identifying characteristic, and it may have been on the car already when Rodni acquired it.
Rodni is described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall and about 118 pounds. She has blonde hair and hazel eyes. She has a tattoo on her ribs of the number “17.” She has a nose ring and several other piercings and was wearing three gold necklaces the night she went missing, according to her friends.
She was wearing green Dickies pants, a black studded belt and a black spaghetti-strap bodysuit, according to authorities. And she was seen on video in a pink and white hoodie reading “ODD FUTURE” earlier on Aug. 5. She may have also been in possession of a dark gray hoodie with Lana Del Rey lyrics.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Placer County Sheriff’s Office’s dedicated tip line at 530-581-6320. Callers can remain anonymous. Police are also asking anyone with photos of videos of the party to share them with investigators.
The reward for information leading to Rodni’s whereabouts has climbed to $75,000.