The body of Kiely Rodni, the 16-year-old who disappeared after a party earlier this month, was found in a reservoir by a volunteer dive team near where she was last seen, authorities confirmed Tuesday.
Adventures With Purpose, the dive team, had first announced their discovery on social media Sunday evening. On Monday morning, in a YouTube livestream, volunteers Doug Bishop and Nick Rinn described how they had joined what had for weeks been a massive search operation involving 73 law enforcement personnel together working over 18,000 hours.
Bishop and Rinn said they began searching the reservoir around 10:40 a.m. Sunday. At 11:15 a.m., they found her vehicle, a 2013 Honda CR-V, in 14-foot-deep water. Rinn dived, identified the vehicle, and then Adventures With Purpose notified police and Rodni's family.
During a news conference Monday, police said they couldn't officially identify the body as Rodni's, but by Tuesday, they confirmed that it was her. Rodni's death remains an active investigation.
On Monday, Rodni's family posted a statement on Instagram, thanking police, friends, family, and the media for helping find her.
"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," part of the statement read. "Kiely will surely remain with us even though we will not get her back."
Rodni was last seen Aug. 6 at a party near the Prosser Family Campground, which according to KCRA had 200 to 300 other teens and young adults in attendance.
At 12:15 a.m., Rodni texted her mother that she was planning to leave the party soon, her mother told Fox 40. Teens at the party had reportedly been drinking, and one friend told CBS News that she thought Rodni was planning to sleep at the campground and drive home in the morning.
Rodni wasn't seen again, prompting a massive search effort by local, state, and federal law enforcement. Her friends and family organized volunteers, raised money, and posted on social media, pleading with anyone who might have information to come forward. Authorities said they received more than 1,600 tips, but ultimately, her car was found relatively close to where the party had taken place.
Sam Brown, captain of the Nevada County Sheriff's Office, said law enforcement would be reviewing how the search was conducted and how officers missed Rodni's car in Prosser Creek Reservoir.
"The lake was extensively searched," he said. "We had divers, we had swimmers. I think that's part of what we're going to have to go back and debrief."
He said law enforcement will look for ways they can improve, but Adventures With Purpose was better equipped to use the high-end equipment necessary for diving.
"Tracking underwater is an extremely difficult thing to do," Brown said.
Initially, Rodni's disappearance was labeled as an abduction, which Brown said was a miscommunication. But, he added, investigators haven't totally ruled out that possibility, and he acknowledged that had helped drive the search effort.
"We probably wouldn't have received all the services and all the people if that wasn't an option," Brown said.
Adventures With Purpose describes itself as an underwater search and recovery dive team "dedicated to helping families of missing loved ones for free." They post videos of their recoveries on their YouTube channel. Bishop and Rinn said episodes about the search for Rodni will be up soon.
"Please keep the Rodni family in your thoughts and prayers as we are," Rinn said during Adventures With Purpose's livestream. "Hug your loved ones a little tighter and take the time to take time as we never know when it will be our last opportunity to do so."