Kiely Rodni: Truckee police plan to scale back search for missing teen after 11 days

Captain Sam Brown of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office says the search will move into a ‘limited’ phase next week

Rachel Sharp
Tuesday 16 August 2022 14:22 BST
California officials discuss search for Kiely Rodni

Investigators are planning to scale back the search for Kiely Rodni as 11 days have gone by since she was last seen at a campground party in Truckee, California – and there is still no sign of the 16-year-old or her missing car.

Captain Sam Brown of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office announced in a press conference on Monday that the search will become “more limited” and move into more of a “background investigative” phase from next week.

“We are moving into a more limited but continuous search and rescue effort. We’ve pulled in a tonne of resources towards that goal and I think to date we’ve had over 9,000 man hours into searching, which is pretty astronomical,” he said.

“Our biggest problem is where do we go and how do we keep sustaining this? And so we do have some plans that have continued… but we are going to have to switch modes and kind of focus on the investigative end and try to figure out where we do we go from there?”

Placer County Sheriff’s Office Lt Josh Barnhart added that investigators would be “putting the pedal down” for one more week before the case becomes more “taskforce style”.

“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 taskforce style,” he said.

“That means our resources will continue to move forward, but in somewhat of a different manner.”

He added: “It doesn’t mean the investigation will stop. It will continue to move forward.”

Captain Brown said he still wants “all eyes and ears” out looking for Kiely and suggested that hunters should be on the lookout for signs of the missing teen as hunting season gets under way soon.

“We still want all eyes and ears out there. We are coming into hunting season. We’re hoping to have eyes out all over the place and we’re going to continue to put all our efforts in as a unified command,” he said.

“Obviously our search for Kiely continues and and we’ll try to do the best we can to keep things moving in a positive way and attempt to find some clues and an idea of where we need to get to.”

Over 200 law enforcement personnel from multiple law enforcement agencies were still on the case as of Monday with search and rescue teams continuing to comb the area by air and land.

Search efforts by water appeared to have been scaled back with no dive teams that day – despite officials revealing that Kiely’s phone last pinged close to a vast lake around the campground.

The 16-year-old was last seen between 12.30am and 1am on Saturday 6 August at a party of 200 to 300 teenagers and young adults at the Prosser Family Campground.

Kiely Rodni on surveillance footage at a Truckee business on the evening of 5 August (PCSO)

On Sunday, officials revealed that the last known location from Kiely’s cellphone was at around 12.30am close to Prosser Lake – the constructed reservoir that goes around the campground.

Captain Brown said that it is difficult to get an “exact pinpoint” for the cellphone location data and that it is also possible that the cellphone did continue to ping after that time.

“The ping for the data points was near the water. It’s hard to tell an exact pinpoint,” he said.

“Just because it was last pinged there, that doesn’t mean that’s where the phone stopped pinging. There’s lots of reasons why those notifications or data points could be lost.”

Divers searched the lake for any signs of the missing 16-year-old but found nothing.

However, the search is complicated by the water’s depth of up to 57 feet and poor visibility, admitted Captain Brown.

“A diving operation like that is almost like you’re going into the water blind, and you’re basically searching with hands,” he said.

“Because once you start maneuvering the ground, it’s like going through mud. These are tough operations.”

Kiely Rodni’s car has a ram sticker beneath the rear wiper blade (Placer County Sheriff’s Office)

Investigators shared a new photo of Kiely’s vehicle on Monday, detailing hat it has a ram sticker below the rear wiper blade and Californian license plate number 8YUR127. Members of the public are urged to contact authorities if they spot a 2013 Honda CR-V with that same sticker.

On Sunday, Placer County Sheriff’s Office announced that investigators had uncovered footage of the 16-year-old at the party on the evening of 5 August.

In the footage, she is wearing a white hoodie covered in the phrase “odd future” in pink letters.

It is unclear if Kiely was still wearing or in possession of the sweatshirt when she went missing but officials are sharing the image in the hope that it could jog the memories of other partygoers.

This is the second sweatshirt the public has been alerted about in connection to the missing teenager.

Kiely also borrowed a dark hoodie with the Lana Del Rey lyrics “you don’t want to be forgotten, you just want to disappear” from someone at the party.

Placer County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Angela Musallam confirmed on Monday that they did not have footage or video of Kiely in the dark hoodie but believed she was in possession of it “at some point during that evening”.

Surveillance footage, taken from a Truckee business about six hours before her disappearance, also shows the teenager was wearing a black spaghetti strap bodysuit, green Dickies pants with a black grommet belt and black Vans that night.

Kiely Rodni was seen wearing this hoodie in footage from the party (PCSO)

Law enforcement officials have also urged the public to keep a look out for a string of gold necklaces that Kiely is believed to have been wearing when she disappeared.

Investigators and Kiely’s family members have repeatedly urged anyone who attended the party and saw Kiely to come forward – no matter how insignificant they think the information may be.

Police have repeatedly said that they are not interested in investigating teenage drinking or partying but just want to bring the 16-year-old home.

More than 1,100 tips sent in by the public but investigators have still been unable to piece together any of Kiely’s movements after around 12.30am that day.

The teenager’s mother Lindsey Rodni-Nieman told The Independent last week that her daughter sent her a final text message at 11.30pm saying that she would be leaving the party in around 45 minutes. The drive home takes around 25-30 minutes.

“She said she’d be leaving at 12.15 and was going to start heading home,” said Ms Rodni-Nieman.

That was the last time she heard from her daughter. She woke the next morning and realised that Kiely had never returned home.

Ms Rodni-Nieman said it would be odd for her daughter to let her phone go dead, adding that she always keeps a charger in her car.

Kiely’s friend Samantha Smith told The Independent that she last spoke to Kiely on the phone at around 12.30am. She had been planning to get a ride home from the party with Kiely but there was a change in plans because she said Kiely had been drinking and so was not in a position to drive.

Instead, the two friends told each other “love you, good night, get home safe,” she said.

One theory being explored is that Kiely has been abducted, as her car – a silver 2013 Honda CRV – is also missing.

Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the Placer County Sheriff’s Office at 530-581-6320, and choose option 7. Tips can also be emailed to and files, including images, can be uploaded to the Placer Sheriff’s Office here.

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