Last cellphone ping places Kiely Rodni at lake edge as teen remains missing 10 days on

·5 min read

The last ping from Kiely Rodni’s cellphone has placed the missing teenager at the edge of a lake at the campground where she was last seen more than one week ago.

The 16-year-old vanished without a trace in the early hours of 6 August after going to the Prosser Family Campground in Truckee, California, for a party of 200 to 300 teenagers and young adults.

For the last 10 days, a huge search has been under way to track her down, with hundreds of law enforcement officers and volunteers from the community scouring the campground, nearby roads and waterways for any signs of the teen.

Captain Sam Brown of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office revealed at a press conference on Sunday 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.

He 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 have been searching the lake for any signs of the missing 16-year-old but have recovered nothing to date.

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.”

Investigators said that Kiely was last seen at the party sometime between 12.30am and 1am.

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.

The sweatshirt Kiely was wearing at the party before she disappeared (Placer County Sheriff’s Office)
The sweatshirt Kiely was wearing at the party before she disappeared (Placer County Sheriff’s Office)

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.

Despite more than 1,100 tips sent in by the public, investigators have still been unable to piece together any of Kiely’s movements after around 12.30am that day 10 days into the investigation.

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

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 after investigators previously revealed that she had borrowed a hoodie with the Lana Del Rey lyrics “you don’t want to be forgotten, you just want to disappear” from someone at the party.

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 captured on surveillance footage on the evening of 5 August (PCSO)
Kiely captured on surveillance footage on the evening of 5 August (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.

Over the weekend, investigators spent a day digging at what they believed to be “a potential burial site” near the campground after receiving a tip from the public.

The search turned out to be a false alarm with ground teams only uncovering the remains of a dead dog.

Law enforcement officials and Kiely’s family members are repeatedly urging 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.

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 sheriff_tahoeinvesttips@placer.ca.gov and files, including images, can be uploaded to the Placer Sheriff’s Office here.