The body found inside a submerged car in Northern California Sunday has been confirmed to be missing teen Kiely Rodni, who disappeared at a campground party in the area about three weeks ago, police said.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers and volunteers have been searching for the 16-year-old since she was last seen at the Prosser Family Campground around 12:30 a.m. on August 6. Authorities were initially treating her disappearance as an abduction, in part because they could not locate her vehicle, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said.
After search crews found a body inside a car that was submerged in Prosser Lake, authorities said it was “more than likely” Kiely. An autopsy has now determined that to be true, according to a statement posted on Facebook from the sheriff’s office.
Kiely’s cause and manner of death were not released, and the investigation into her death is still ongoing, according to the statement.
“The Placer County Sheriff’s Office and the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office are in communication with Kiely’s family and offer our deepest condolences to them during this extremely difficult time,” the post said.
Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon earlier said the vehicle was “located within a search zone that we have been searching since the very beginning of our operation.”
Volunteer dive group Adventures with Purpose, who often join underwater searches, located the vehicle, Moon said. It was found upside down about 14 feet beneath the lake’s surface, which has dropped about 3 feet since the teen first disappeared, according to Nevada County Sheriff’s Capt. Sam Brown said.
Kiely’s family said in a statement Monday they are “eternally grateful” for the support they have received during the search.
“We have weathered a storm of unfathomable force, and it is purely thanks to the army of warriors, matriarchs, healers, and helpers holding us up that we continue to stand today,” the statement read. “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.”
Between 200 to 300 juveniles attended the campground party where Kiely was last seen, officials have said.
The grounds are about 17 miles north of Lake Tahoe and 36 miles from Reno, Nevada.
CNN’s Stella Chan, Amir Vera and Kacey Cherry contributed to this report.