Where is Kiely Rodni?

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13th August 2022  •  13 min read

On the 5th of August, 2022, 16-year-old Kiely Rodini vanished from a party near the Prosser Family Campground within the Tahoe National Forest in California. According to reports, the party was attended by hundreds of teenagers and young people, many who had come from all across the state. This is an ongoing case, and Kiely…


On the 5th of August, 2022, 16-year-old Kiely Rodini vanished from a party near the Prosser Family Campground within the Tahoe National Forest in California. According to reports, the party was attended by hundreds of teenagers and young people, many who had come from all across the state. This is an ongoing case, and Kiely still remains missing.

It was the 5th of August, 2022, when 16-year-old Kiely Rodini attended a party near the Prosser Family Campground, which is located on the picturesque Prosser Reservoir within the Tahoe National Forest in California. The campground is known among local young people as “the Sanctuary” and it has been quite a common haunt for teenagers looking to party for decades.

It was quite a substantial party, with somewhere between 100 and 300 juveniles and young adults attending.

Kiely comes from a very close-knit family, and they run the Lost Trail Lodge in Truckee, which is around a 12 mile drive from the Prosser Campground. She is described by her friends as somebody who loves singing and meeting new people. According to Kiely’s loved ones, she is a very adventurous girl, and enjoys making new experiences, especially going on road trips.

To make some extra cash, Kiely was working at a local boba tea shop. Her colleague, Abby Bunker, said of her: “She walks into a room and she just makes the whole room brighter.” Another colleague, Mesh Depaoli, said: “She was literally the most badass person. You could talk to her about anything. She knows the solution for everything.”

Kiely is also very musically talented. She started playing music when she was just two-years-old, playing the violin, the mandolin, the guitar and the ukulele. Kiley is also a talented singer. Her mother, Lindsay, said of her daughter: “She is so dynamic and in that she is able to make direct connections with practically everybody she meetsShe is a human of her conviction – she does what she says she is going to do. She has that integrity that either you have or you don’t.”

Kiely was extremely excited about the party. It was a graduation party, and Kiely had graduated a year early early from high school. She was going to be among the youngest at the party. She had planned to attend Sierra College in the fall.

In fact, Kiely almost didn’t attend the party. She had made plans wit her mother to go to a car show in Reno that night, but during the day, Kiely changed her mind and informed her mother she was going to the party instead. Her mother, Lindsay, recollected: “There was this classic car show in Reno – she’s so dynamic she loves everything from playing the violin to car shows – and so she was maybe going to see some drag races with us there. There was this classic car show in Reno – she’s so dynamic she loves everything from playing the violin to car shows – and so she was maybe going to see some drag races with us there.”

Lindsay was disappointed, but she wanted Kiely to have a good time. She extended her curfew for that night and expected her home at around 12:30AM. Kiely had driven to the bonfire party in her silver 2013 Honda CRV, arriving at around 10PM. Kiely pulled up her car in the campground and began to search for her friends. She came across Samantha Smith, one of her best friends. Samantha recollected: “We have been close friends since before, so we ended up meeting up with each other, sort of screaming to each other ‘Hi!’ For the rest of the party we pretty much stuck to each other.”

By 10:30PM, the party had swelled. There were juveniles and young people from all over, even some attending from Nevada.

Kiely and Samantha went their separate ways as they mingled with the other party-goers. They sporadically bumped into one another throughout the night. Samantha stated: “I knew it was a big party but it was supposed to be just the community… The party started to grow past the [number] of people that were supposed to be there. There were college kids and people from the Bay area coming and I got a bad feeling about it but didn’t really think much of it.”

Around the same time, Kiely and Samantha returned to Kiely’s car to charge their phones. They arranged for Kiely to drop Samantha home that night, but Samantha ultimately decided against it. Kiely had been drinking and it was better to be safe than sorry.

As the party was in full swing, Kiely was texting her boyfriend, Jagger Westfall. He had texted her earlier telling her to be safe and not do anything stupid. They then texted about Jagger’s day, and he complained about some things that had happened during the day, things that weren’t related to Kiely . The last message that he received from Kiely was at around 10:30PM, where she emphasized with what he had gone through.

At around midnight, Kiely texted her mother, Lindsay, and said she planned on leaving the party in around 45 minutes. Lindsay responded, telling her daughter to be safe and that she loved her. She also asked  her to wake her up when she arrived bac home, like she always does. Kiely replied: “Ok, mom, I love you too.”

The last time that Samantha saw Kiely was at around 12:25AM, when Samantha was getting a lift home with another friend. They hugged goodbye before parting ways. Around ten minutes later, however, Kiely called Samantha. Samantha recalled: “We said ‘love you, good night. Get home safe,’ and that’s the last thing we heard of her.”

The following morning, Kiely had made plans to meet  up with some friends to go hiking but she never showed up. The friends contacted Kiely’s mother asking if she was still at home. Lindsay went to check on her daughter to find that her bed had not been slept in and her car was missing from the driveway. Lindsay called Kiely but her phone went straight to voicemail. The family all shared cellphone location data, so Lindsay checked that. The last location data was at the campground where the party had taken place at 12:03AM. Snapchat data also showed Kiely’s cellphone at the same location at around 12:30AM.

She stated: “That’s when I knew something was wrong.” Dread washed over and she reported her daughter missing.

A search party for Kiely began immediately. The first place for investigators and the family to search was the campground. When they got there, they could see all the hallmarks of a party. A smouldering fire, empty tins, and dazed juveniles and young people. Kiely was not there. Even more alarming, her car was missing as well.

Missing person posters described Kiely as standing 5 feet 7 inches and 115 pounds. She has blonde hair, and hazel eyes. She also has a tattoo of the number 17 on her ribs, a nose piercing, ear piercings and a belly button piercing. When attending the party, Kiely had been wearing a black body suit, green Dickies pants and black Vans shoes. As for her missing car, it has the license plate number: 8YUR127.

Missing person posters with Kiely’s face emblazoned on the front were printed and shared throughout the aera in droves.

Investigators took the disappearance seriously from the very beginning, with the Sheriff’s Office announcing that they are treating her disappearance as an abduction because Kiely’s vehicle still remained missing. Their first point of action, in addition to interviewing witnesses, was to try and trace Kiely’s cellphone. They quickly discovered that Kiely’s cellphone is out of service despite the fact that cell service in the area of the campground is generally good. They then discovered that her phone had been turned off some time after 12:30AM. It was unlikely that her battery had died since Kiely had a charger in her car, and Samantha said that she had charged her phone earlier in the night.

The search party began at the campground and then fanned out further afield. Investigators called in the assistance of police helicopters that flew over the Interstate 80 corridor between Donner Summit and the Nevada state line, before searching around the Prosser Lake area. In addition to the helicopters, investigators are coordinating with the California Highway Patrol, Truckee Police, the FBI and the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators were also assisted by K-9 units. The search truly was extensive and exhaustive, but there was absolutely no sign of Kiely or her missing car. Samantha, who was at the party with Kiely, shared her belief that something sinister could have happened. She stated: “I know that she wasn’t in the right mindset or state to drive. And if she were to have driven, she wouldn’t have made it far. So my concern is that somebody might have offered to drive her home and then didn’t take her home.”

By day two of the search, investigators shared their fears that Kiely had been abducted. They didn’t believe that she had driven somewhere and crashed her car. For one, she was too inebriated to get very far in her car, and for two, the car hadn’t been found. Searchers had scoured the entire area surrounding the campground, and they were even assisted by helicopters and drones. If Kiely had of crashed somewhere, her car would have been found by now.

Kiely’s family would plead for her safe return, with her mother, Lindsey, stating: “We just want her home. We’re so scared and we miss her so much and we love her so much.” Lindsey then appealed to Kiely herself, stating: “Kiely, we love you, and if you see this, please just come home. I want nothing more than to hug you. If anybody else out here, if you know where she is, if you know anything about where she might be, if you have any ideas or thoughts, please come forward and share them. We’re not looking to bust anybody else or get anybody in trouble. We just want to see our daughter home.”

In a hope to generate some leads, Kiely’s family put forward a $50,000 reward and they also set up a website with information about the disappearance and information about how to get information to investigators. The website is at findkiely.com, so while you’re listening to this episode, please do go and bookmark their website. As soon as the reward fund was put forward, a GoFundMe was set up to help Kiely’s family find her. Thus far, it has reached $37,000.

In a series of anguished Facebook posts, Lindsay has kept the public informed on the developments. On the 8th of August, she posted: “We spent the day at the rec center passing out flyers to people who posted them near and far.” The family had arranged for search parties themselves as well, and the community sprung into action. They meet at the Truckee Recreation Center wearing white to identify themselves, and then plan out routes to search for Kiely.

Investigators then turned their attention to the other juveniles and young people that were at the party that night. By day two of the search, not many people had come forward. It was speculated that they feared they could get into trouble for underage drinking, but public information officer Angela Musullam stated: “We’re not interested in [investigating teenage drinking], we’re only looking to find Kiely.” They appealed to parents of juveniles who were at the campground, and asked them to review any photographs or videos that their child may have taken.

As they waited for people to come forward with information, they released CCTV footage of Kiely which had been captured at a Truckee business around six hours before she vanished. In the image, Kiely was wearing the clothing that she was wearing at the party. Investigators hoped that the image would refresh someone’s memory.

Where is Kiely Rodni?

In addition to interviewing people, investigators asked the public for any video evidence they may have. This included surveillance footage from businesses and homes in the area, and even dash cam footage.

Some teenagers at the party did speak with police. And while none of them reported seeing anything suspicious, they did note that there were some older guys there, guys that weren’t familiar to them. One friend of Kiely, Mags Larson, said that a lot of them split from the party when so many people turned up, and a number of these people were carrying drugs and taking drugs, which made a lot of them feel uncomfortable.

According to some party-goers, these older men were handing out free drugs, including cocaine and drugs. There was no reports of Kiely taking any drugs. By all accounts, she was just drinking alcohol. Kiely’s friend, Samantha, shared a video of the party on her social media. It showed just how crazy the party truly was. Dozens of young people can be seen in a clearing in the woodland. There’s trash strewn around alongside empty bottles of alcohol.

Interviews with people at the party did very little to provide any insight. Not one person had seen Kiely leave the party that night. Her friend, Samantha, commented: “I can’t believe it. There has to have been one person. There were people sitting in cars. There were people everywhere around this place.”

Many people called for an Amber Alert to be issued. However, for an Amber Alert to be issued, law enforcement needs to confirm that an abduction had taken place. Investigators were already categorizing it as a potential abduction by day two, yet no Amber Alert was issued. Placer County Sgt. Scott Alfred stated: “Right now we don’t have evidence that supports an abduction. If the criteria is met, we get a tip that points us in that direction, we will work with the state and utilize that resource as well.”

On day four of the search for Kiely, investigators turned their attention to Prosser Creek Reservoir, a 760-acre stretch of water just a stone’s throw away from the campground. They were considering the theory that Kiely had accidentally driven her car into the reservoir. They called in the assistance of police dive teams to scan through the dark waters. They set up a forensic tent at the bottom of a boat ramp that is accessed from the campground, and began their search.

While searching the reservoir, investigators were also utilizing license plate technology and had checked cars as far away as Reno in Nevada. They couldn’t find any sign of Kiely’s car. Investigators announced that they believe that somebody knows what exactly happened to Kiely, but for reasons unknown are not coming forward. During a press conference, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office captain Sam Browns said: “We believe that someone knows. Someone saw her but they’re not coming forward.”

That same day, cadaver dogs were brought in to the search. Four days had passed with absolutely no sign of Kiely. Josh Barnhart of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office stated: “We do not have any new leads, and that I can tell you is very frustrating for us.” By now, the FBI and Homeland Security were involved in the search for Kiely. The FBI would add Kiely to their most wanted missing persons list and issue their own missing person poster. The poster included three photographs of Kiely, including the one captured on surveillance. Angela Musallam, spokesperson for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office stated: “The FBI chose to put this out because we have no viable leads and we want to increase the reach.”

One person from the party would come forward as the search entered its fifth day. This person said that Kiely had borrowed a hooded sweatshirt that night. It was dark grey with a purple floral design on the back and a line on the front from a Lana del Rey song. It read; “You don’t want to be forgotten, you just want to disappear.” Investigators announced that they weren’t sure whether Kiely was wearing the hooded sweatshirt when she vanished, but it was believed to still be in her possession at the time. They released photographs of the hooded sweatshirt, hoping that it could jog someone’s memory.

Where is Kiely Rodni?

Investigators would then release photographs of the jewelry that Kiely was wearing that night, including a gold chain. They stated: “We’re told she always wears this type of jewelry … We’d want anybody who comes across [this necklace] to please contact us immediately because this would certainly provide us a new tip, and a new direction.”

Kiely’s boyfriend, Jagger, would speak with the Independent that same day. He spoke about their final conversation and revealed that both he and Kiely’s father had taught her about self defence, and how to get out of what he described as sticky situations. He said it was his belief that Kiely was safe and well, adding: “I know she’s smart. She wouldn’t do something that would definitely put her life at risk. I really need her back. I really just need to know that she’s safe, that’s all I need at this point, I really want to hug her again.”

Jagger and a couple of Kiely’s friends have gotten together to search further afield for Kiely. They said that they believed that Kiely was no longer in the Truckee area, but could be in Reno, a city just across the California border into Nevada. They travelled there to search for Kiely, in spots that they often visited together. Jagger shared his belief that they were going to bring Kiely home safe. The couple liked to travel to Reno to hang out.

It has been discovered that at some point during the party, a fight broke out amongst some of the partygoers. On the 12th of August, investigators announced that they did not believe that it had any connection to Kiely’s disappearance, but still, they appealed to anybody who had any footage of the fight to get in contact and share said footage.

It’s now been one week since Kiely disappeared. Her phone hasn’t been switched back on and her credit card hasn’t been used. Since the last reported sighting, there has been absolutely no sign of Kiely, despite the fact that over 900 tips have come in thus far.

If you have any information about Kiely’s whereabouts, please contact the Placer County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 530-581-6320 or email sheriff_tahoeinvesttips@placer.ca.gov. To keep up to date with this case as it unfollows, please bookmark the website, findkiely.com. There, you can download Kiely’s missing person flyer and distribute it throughout your area. It also includes all the phone numbers you may need, including the anonymous tip line, and a plethora of photographs of Kiely.

Update:

Adventures With Purpose, a volunteer group that helps find missing people underwater, announced on the 21st of August, 2022, that they have found Kiely and her car. She was found inside her sunken car in Prosser Lake.

Footnotes:

  • San Francisco Chronicle, 7 August, 2022 – “16-Year-old Kiely Rodni, Missing from Tahoe-area”
  • San Francisco Chronicle, 7 August, 2022 – “16-Year-Old Girl Missing from Tahoe-Area Campground”
  • Associated Press, 8 August, 2022 – “Teen Girl Missing After Attending Party in Lake Tahoe Area”
  • The Independent, 8 August, 2022 – “Friends of Missing Teen Kiely Rodni Recount Final Call”
  • The Independent, 8 August, 2022 – “Everything We Know”
  • MailOnline, 8 August, 2022 – “Mother of Missing California Girl Kiely Rodni Says Captor Must Have Driven”
  • San Francisco Chronicle, 8 August, 2022 – “Search Intensifies for 16-Year-Old Girl Missing from Truckee Campground”
  • CBS – 12 KWCH, 9 August, 2022 – “Missing 16-Year-Old Possibly Abducted from Party”
  • CBS – 7 WHIO, 9 August, 2022 – “Mom, Friend of Missing Teen Kiely Rodni Recall Last Conversations”
  • FOX – 6 WITI, 9 August, 2022 – “Kiely Rodni Missing”
  • MailOnline, 9 August, 2022 – “Police Dive Teams are Working on Theory that California Teen Kiely Rodni May Have Accidentally Driven into Reservoir”
  • San Francisco Chronicle, 9 August, 2022 – “Few Clues as Desperate Search for Missing Tahoe Teen Kiely Rodni Hits Day 3”
  • San Francisco Chronicle, 9 August, 2022 – “Kiely Rodni Disappearance”
  • The Independent, 10 August, 2022 – “Truckee Police Say Someone Knows”
  • The Independent, 10 August, 2022 – “Dive Teams Join Search for Missing California Teen”
  • San Francisco Chronicle, 10 August, 2022 – “FBI Adds Teen to Missing Persons List”
  • East Bay Times, 11 August, 2022 – “Someone Knows. Someone Saw Her”
  • The Independent, 11 August, 2022 – “Police Release Pictures of Kiely Rodni’s Jewelry”
  • The Independent, 11 August, 2022 – “Kiely Rodni’s Boyfriend Breaks his Silence”
  • The Independent, 11 August, 2022 – “Kiely Rodni’s Mother Reveals She Almost Didn’t Go to Camp Party”
  • International Business Times, 11 August, 2022 – “Sheriff Attempts to Establish Timeline”
  • The U.S. Sun, 11 August, 2022 – “Dangerous Combination”
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Dee
Dee
1 month ago

How awful! It seems like she literally just disappeared! Hopefully someone comes forward with some good info.

Riley Grace
Riley Grace
1 month ago

Really sad – I am surprised her mom was okay with her drinking at 16 and not concerned. Wish her friends watched out for her too, I feel like this could have been avoided with parental guidance and friends realizing her danger in driving. Rest In Peace, Kiely.

AusAsh
AusAsh
1 month ago
Reply to  Riley Grace

My parents didn’t know half of what I got up to at that age. She had a curfew and her parents probably assumed she wasn’t drinking to be able to drive herself home

Bernadette Lombardi
Bernadette Lombardi
2 days ago

The road that the roadside service people saw Kylie’s car on is a road that can take you all the way to Reno by dog valley road no cameras nobody knows about that road unless you live in the area that meant locals would have had to have known about it I believe that her car was taken down to Reno and put in a garage somewhere until the police we’re done searching that meant somebody had to know what was up with the police and their search situation I believe that when they called the search off the car… Read more »

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