The search for Kiely Rodni has likely ended in heartbreaking tragedy, but her family is taking a moment to thank those who tried to help find the missing 16-year-old.
“We are eternally grateful for the love and support you have shown us in the last couple of weeks,” the Rodni-Nieman family said in a statement obtained by Fox News. “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 family issued the statement Monday shortly after Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon announced that they had “more than likely” found Rodni’s body Sunday in a submerged SUV at Prosser Reservoir, although the remains have yet to be positively identified.
The vehicle was discovered about 14 feet below the water’s surface by volunteer divers with Adventure with Purpose, who had joined the search effort days earlier.
"Last night we did receive some information of the recovery of the vehicle that we've been searching for and it was located inside Prosser Lake," Moon said at the press conference. "It was located within a search zone that we have been searching since the very beginning of our operation."
Rodni disappeared around 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 6 after leaving a large party of about 300 teenagers and young adults at the Prosser Family Campground in Truckee, California, not far from the reservoir.
In the weeks that followed, multiple agencies banded together to try to find the 16-year-old through a series of extensive ground, air and water searches.
Rodni’s family expressed their gratitude Monday for the “helpers” who came to the family’s rescue in “full force.”
"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,” they said.
They asked for privacy as they celebrate their “daughter’s spirit and heal our souls.”
Rodni’s boyfriend, Jagger Westfall, also released an emotional video statement of his own on social media.
“This was an insanely f---ed up situation and it still is insanely f---ed up and I still don’t know how to process it,” he said. “I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to process it. I know that it f---ing hurts and I know that it hurts all of you.”
He went on to thank those who had “tried so f---ing hard to bring her home” after she disappeared earlier this month.
“It really means a lot to me and I’m sure it means a lot to her,” he said as his voice broke.
In the video message Monday, he asked others who might be struggling with her death to reach out to him to talk because it’s “what [K]iely would want me to do.”
“She wouldn’t want us to sit around sad as f--- all the time,” he said in the video message. “She wants us to be happy and she wants us to be safe and she wants us to have a good life. That’s all she ever wanted for anyone.”