Diver who found missing California teen Kiely Rodni says death ‘reeks of foul play’

Diver who found missing California teen Kiely Rodni says death ‘reeks of foul play’

A diver who found the body of missing California teen Kiely Rodni in the back cargo hatch of her car submerged in a reservoir has doubled down on his claims that he believes her death is suspicious.

Adventures With Purpose (AWP) diver Doug Bishop said for Rodni’s vehicle to end up where it did, she would have to make a sharp left turn onto an dirt path about a quarter mile from the main road.

Bishop also pointed out they found her remains in the cargo hatch of the vehicle even though the passenger side window was open and rear driver’s side window was halfway down.

‘It doesn’t add up,’ Bishop told Fox News Digital. ‘It reeks of foul play.’ 

Bishop explained once Rodni’s vehicle entered the water, it would’ve sank quickly and it would not have made any sense for her to crawl over the seats and into hatch, especially when two of the windows were open. 

‘You’re not going to crawl into the back and climb under a seat,’ he said. 

The Oregon-based civilian dive team located Rodni’s body last month in a reservoir that had already been searched by authorities just a quarter mile from where she went missing from a party at a Tahoe National Forest campground.

Adventures With Purpose diver Doug Bishop, who found the body of missing teen Kiely Rodni in the back of her car in a reservoir, doubled down on his claim that her death is suspicious

Adventures With Purpose diver Doug Bishop, who found the body of missing teen Kiely Rodni in the back of her car in a reservoir, doubled down on his claim that her death is suspicious

Bishop said for Rodni's vehicle to end up where it did (pictured) she would have to make a sharp left turn onto an dirt path about a quarter mile from the main road

Bishop said for Rodni’s vehicle to end up where it did (pictured) she would have to make a sharp left turn onto an dirt path about a quarter mile from the main road

Kiely Rodni, 16, went missing on August 6 after a party at Prosser Campground. Her remains were found in the back of her vehicle on August 21 - though two windows were open

Kiely Rodni, 16, went missing on August 6 after a party at Prosser Campground. Her remains were found in the back of her vehicle on August 21 – though two windows were open

The Nevada Sheriff’s Office has said that they would not provide any updates until November. Bishop told Fox News Digital that he believes the delay supports his theory that Rodni’s death is not an accident – but foul play. 

However, Tammy Watters of Sonar Search and Recovery, pushed back against Bishop’s theory. 

‘Ninety percent of vehicles found with people in it, they’re normally found in the back,’ she said. ‘If it’s an SUV, they’re in the hatch.’

She explained that the engine is the heaviest part of the car, which would mean that end would nosedives first.

‘As the vehicle is sinking, they’re climbing to the back to try to stay up out of the water. They’re chasing the air,’ Watters said.

The divers released last week the footage of their search for the teen who vanished from a graduation party on August 6. They caught on camera the moment they told her devastated father, David, they had found her body in the lake.

He questioned how cops had failed to spot the huge car when they claimed they had already scoured the water closest to the party, exclaiming ‘that’s f***ing impossible’.

The search for the teen took 19,000 search hours, involving police, the FBI and hundreds of volunteers. But it wasn’t until Adventures With Purpose joined on August 21, that she was finally found.  

Bishop, who is a former tow truck driver and now a sonar expert, along with scuba instructor Nick Rinn, searched the Prosser Reservoir for just 35 minutes before they found Rodni’s body. 

The SUV was found upside down in the water about 14 feet down and 55 feet from the shore. Her remains were found in the cargo hatch. 

‘She’s in the back of the vehicle. She’s not in the driver’s seat. It looks suspicious to me,’ Rinn said.

She was also confirmed to not be wearing a seatbelt in the upside-down vehicle when it was discovered three weeks after she went missing – meaning she would have been able to move around.

Diver Nick Rinn, pictured, also said that he thought the discovery was 'suspicious' after positively identifying the car as Kiely's. The divers found it odd that she was in the back hatch

Diver Nick Rinn, pictured, also said that he thought the discovery was ‘suspicious’ after positively identifying the car as Kiely’s. The divers found it odd that she was in the back hatch

Adventures With Purpose confirmed that her body was found in the back of the car, with the passenger window broken and the rear driver's side window halfway down

Adventures With Purpose confirmed that her body was found in the back of the car, with the passenger window broken and the rear driver’s side window halfway down

Divers confirmed that they could see some items and human remains in the silver vehicle after spotting it with their state-of-the-art sonar system

Divers confirmed that they could see some items and human remains in the silver vehicle after spotting it with their state-of-the-art sonar system

In the video, AWP show how the team took two sonar boats onto the water at 10.40am on August 21, and identified Kiely’s 2013 silver Honda under the water at 11.15am.

They confirmed that her body was found in the back of the car, with the passenger window broken and the drivers rear window halfway down.

She was also confirmed to not be wearing a seatbelt, and it is unclear the exact circumstances that led to the windows being open and broken.

After surfacing from his dive Nick Rinn, part of AWP, said: ‘She’s in the back of the vehicle, she’s not in the drivers seat.

‘It looks suspicious to me, vehicles upside down one window is halfway down one window is all the way down.’

Doug Bishop and Nick Rinn released last week the footage of their search for the teen who vanished from a graduation party on August 6

Doug Bishop and Nick Rinn released last week the footage of their search for the teen who vanished from a graduation party on August 6

The team then call Rodni’s relatives, before contacting authorities, with her dad David and grandfather rushing to the scene to see what the divers found.

When told how close to shore the car was, and that it was in the same area that cops had previously scoured, David said: ‘How the f*** could they have missed it? That’s f***ing impossible’.

Her dad then asked a few questions about how she was found, before getting emotional and saying ‘I can’t see this cause it’s going to be my last memory and I can’t f***ing do it’ before leaving the scene.

Dive teams from Placer County, Nevada County and Alameda County were all involved in the search for the teen who vanished after a party at Prosser Family Campground on August 6.

Divers confirmed that they found Rodni's car, a silver 2013 Honda CRV, in Prosser Lake. They identified the car by the license plate number - 8YUR127

Divers confirmed that they found Rodni’s car, a silver 2013 Honda CRV, in Prosser Lake. They identified the car by the license plate number – 8YUR127

Kiely's furious father David, pictured second left, said 'how the f***' did they miss it' when he found out how close his daughter's car was to the shore

Kiely’s furious father David, pictured second left, said ‘how the f***’ did they miss it’ when he found out how close his daughter’s car was to the shore

Key differences between YouTube divers and official police search

Adventures with Purpose have helped close 23 cold cases by using state-of-the art Garmin sonar technology, and use an inflatable boats which all have down imaging, side scan and a live scan to search deep within the water.

Authorities searching the same stretch of water days before claim that they were unable to see anything because of the nature of the lake bed, saying it was like ‘going through mud’. 

Police divers started searching for the missing teen three days after she vanished from a graduation party – and spent tow days coming the body of water her car was found in.

They used a ‘phased’ search because they did not want to disturb the muddy lake bed and divers were a ‘last resort’.

AWP found Rodni’s SUV within 35 minutes on the water.

Her cell phone last pinged around 12:30am near the campground’s reservoir after she texted her mother to say she was heading back to Truckee, just 12 miles from the party.

Authorities, including the FBI, say that they scanned through nearly 2,000 tips in the two-week hunt for Rodni, and spent almost 20,000 hours looking for her.

The teenager sent her mother Lindsey, 42, a text message saying she planned to leave in 45 minutes at approximately 11.30pm.

She had been due to meet friends at a local Starbucks at 9am ahead of a camping trip but failed to show up – prompting her mother to sound the alarm.

Police are waiting a full autopsy with toxicology reports and say the investigation is ongoing, but they confirmed that the remains were Kiely’s.

Placer County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Sam Brown said at a press conference that the cops linked up with AWP after ‘realizing an interest’ and ‘reading online’. 

Bishop explained in the video spotting the ‘weird’ reading on a sonar scanner.

He said: ‘That is giving me a really weird reading, it looks just like a car it looks just like an SUV.

‘It’s giving me some misreading’s just the way a newer car would.’

The Oregon-based group says it has solved more than 20 missing persons cases using sonar and search-and-rescue techniques for its dive team.

Bishop said they put two sonar boats in the water at 10:40am and by 11:15am Rinn detected an object with sonar technology. Bishop said he was able to confirm it was a vehicle. Rinn put on his gear and conducted the dive to examine the car.

‘Once we confirmed it was indeed Kiely’s vehicle we immediately notified family, law enforcement and (the teen’s) dad and grandpa were on scene within minutes,’ Bishop said.

Rodni was last seen alive August 6 near the Prosser Family Campground in Truckee, attending a party with hundreds of young people, authorities have said.

The campground is at the reservoir in the Sierra Nevada, about 165 miles northeast of San Francisco.

She had been due to meet friends at a local Starbucks at 9am ahead of a camping trip but failed to show up – prompting her mother to sound the alarm.

Placer County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Sam Brown said at a press conference that the cops linked up with AWP after ‘realizing an interest’ and ‘reading online’.

He said: ‘We did link up Sgt Mike Powers with them, there was lots of communication as they were traveling to the area.

Rodni (pictured) disappeared on August 6 from the Prosser Family Campground where she was attending a party with hundreds of other teens

Rodni (pictured) disappeared on August 6 from the Prosser Family Campground where she was attending a party with hundreds of other teens

Doug Bishop, who leads the team, explained in the video spotting the ‘weird’ reading on a sonar scanner which made him think that it was a newer car

Doug Bishop, who leads the team, explained in the video spotting the ‘weird’ reading on a sonar scanner which made him think that it was a newer car

Their equipment allows them to see through all of the layers of the water, using down and side imaging as well as sonar

Their equipment allows them to see through all of the layers of the water, using down and side imaging as well as sonar 

‘Detailed information was shared, that wasn’t out to the public yet, and hopefully that was of assistance to them to locate the area to go to.’

Timeline of Rodni’s disappearance

AUGUST 5:

6:08pm: Rodni is caught on surveillance camera footage at a local business in Truckee.

10pm: Rodni and her friend Mags arrive at the party at Prosser Family Campground. Before Rodni arrived, her boyfriend, Jagger Westfall, texted her complaining about his day, and adding: ‘OK. Be safe. Don’t do anything stupid.’

10:30pm: Rodni replies to Westfall, and says: ‘Oh, I’m sorry that you’re going through that.’

11:30pm: Rodni texts her mother to say that she is planning on leaving the party in 45 minutes.

AUGUST 6:

12:03am: Rodni shares her location – the campground – with her mother. 

12:25am: Rodni’s friend Sami sees her, gives her a hug, and says get home safe.

12:30am: SnapChat data shows a ping at the campground. Two campers witness a large number of cars drive away.

12:36am: Rodni calls Sami, asking if she still needs a lift home. Sami says she can hear music and people in the background. 

8am: Rodni’s mother wakes up and realizes her daughter has not returned home.

9am: Friends wait at a Starbucks for Rodni to show up for their camping trip.

When asked why officers investigating the disappearance didn’t find the car when they first searched, he said: ‘The lake was extensively search with sonar, with a remotely operated vehicle, with divers and swimmers.

‘Part of what we have to do is go back and debrief. Tracking underwater is an extremely difficult thing to do.

‘A lot of this equipment is high-end, very expensive and you really need to have a lot of practice and expertise.

‘AWP are able to hone them and we appreciate them being able to come out and assist.’

Initially Rodni’s disappearance was being treated as a possible abduction, something which Placer County Sheriff’s department denied in a press conference.

Officers said that by not ruling out abduction as a possible reason for her vanishing, may have helped get more assistance from various agencies.

Capt. Brown added: ‘I think there was a lot of miscommunication, I don’t think it was ever labelled as abduction, but you can’t ever take that off the table.

‘You couldn’t remove it off the table, we hadn’t found her. There was some struggle with some services, we wanted to obtain things and couldn’t.

‘We couldn’t say that it wasn’t, and it was clarified very early on but we wouldn’t have received all the resources we did if that wasn’t the case.’

Rodni’s family issued a statement paying tribute to her life saying: ‘We are eternally grateful for the love and support you have shown us in the last couple of weeks.

‘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.

‘Mr. Rogers famously told a story of ‘looking for the helpers’ whenever he saw scary things in the news.

‘We have not had to look for the helpers, as you have all come to our rescue in full force. We are forever indebted to you.’

The family, which runs a small hotel near Truckee, encouraged those who knew the teenager to celebrate her life and remember her example.

‘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,’ the statement reads.

‘Kiely will surely remain with us even though we will not get her back.

‘There are certain occasions when words fail. Perhaps this is why our human nature has given us art, dance, and music, which all are often more effective ways to connect us to each other and our rawest emotions.

‘Kindly excuse us as we retreat and dance privately to life’s song while we celebrate our daughter’s spirit and heal our souls.’

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