THE volunteer dive team who found missing teen Kiely Rodni in her submerged car still feels her death is “suspicious” but does not believe her boyfriend was involved.
Kiely, 16, was discovered last month almost two weeks after disappearing following an end-of-school party in Truckee, California.
The Adventures with Purpose crew traveled from Oregon after being alerted about the case and managed to locate her vehicle in Prosser Reservoir using sonar technology.
They have been criticized for interviewing an alleged witness, named Nick, who appeared to describe seeing Kiely with a boy in a “black San Francisco [Giants] ball cap, facing forwards.”
Her boyfriend, Jagger Westfall, was seen in a FOX TV interview wearing a black Giants cap but has vehemently denied he ever attended the party amid online abuse.
Nick, who works for an unnamed roadside assistance company, claimed to have helped who he believed was Kiely and a mystery boy after her car broke down.
He alleged it was either Friday, August 5, or the day after when the search began and said he was suspicious of the boy she was with near Boca Reservoir.
This week, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office revealed they interviewed Jagger early on in the investigation and say he is not a person of interest after quickly ruling him out.
But they have refused to comment on whether they believe foul play was involved amid a full investigation.
Now, Doug Bishop, a key member of Adventures with Purpose, has spoken exclusively to The U.S. Sun about the case, and the rumors surrounding Kiely’s boyfriend.
“As far as the young man by the name of Jagger is concerned, we never mentioned his name,” Bishop told The U.S. Sun.
“And the hat that was referenced that I think everyone is trying to draw to him, there are millions of those hats that are sold.
“As an organization, we do not consider anything like that to be possible, he’s not a suspect, and we never named him as a suspect whatsoever.
“Now, those conclusions are being drawn and it’s unfortunate, but the FBI has completely ruled him out.
“Obviously we don’t want there to be any unnecessary harm on anybody, that’s not being done by us.
“This case was in national headlines and being covered by web sleuths before we even came to town.
“The main thing that the public needs to understand is we have never named that young man, nor will we ever.”
A source said Westfall was annoyed with Adventures with Purpose putting out the YouTube video: “How We FOUND Kiely Rodni: MURDER or ACCIDENT?” as he has since received death threats.
“He thinks the video was for clout and he got so much hate on social media,” the pal told The U.S. Sun.
“Jagger feels they made a mockery of this terrible accident. It disgusts him and he’s made it known.
“Kiely’s family is supporting him, they do not think he was involved and he is even living with them at the moment.
“He [Jagger] has proof he has handed to law enforcement that shows he was not even in the area, he was driving back from Napa Valley when this man allegedly saw Kiely.
“Jagger believes it was an accident, that she turned too fast while she was intoxicated and ended up in the water.”
Bishop said they did their background work on “witness” Nick and still stand by him “100 percent” but admit there is a possibility Kiely may have been with someone else, or it wasn’t her at all.
He said the majority of what they uncovered in Truckee, and while speaking with Nick, has been held back until the investigation is complete, but they do not yet know if it’s relevant.
The alleged witness has spoken to police, but it is unknown if he has provided any video or photographic evidence of the couple he encountered in Boca.
He previously told Bishop there were cameras on his vehicle at the time but that he didn’t have access to the footage, adding that the boy in question was wearing a “white bro tank.”
Bishop admits he’s not convinced yet that Kiely simply drove into the reservoir alone after she was found in the back of her submerged vehicle with one of the windows smashed.
“I think it’s suspicious [but] it’s now in the hands of some of the best professionals in the world, and we have to wait patiently,” he said.
“As much as we deem the entire thing to be suspicious, it very well could just be an accident.”
He added that whatever the conclusion is, it could result in an online “storm” as many continue to speculate what happened to her and whether anyone else was involved.
Bishop said their top-of-the-range equipment, which was better than what law enforcement was using, was the reason they located Kiely in the reservoir.
“We specialize in something that they do not, so it’s not a knock on them. It’s just unfortunate.”
He added that if it is revealed foul play was involved, or the results are inconclusive, he fears the public will blame law enforcement.
Bishop insists Adventures with Purpose are not “headline chasers,” and that the interviews they do are to get answers, and not to generate views on YouTube.
“It would far benefit us to be controversial, but that’s not how we operate,” he told The U.S. Sun.
“We really care about what we do. We really care about helping families. And we’re gonna keep doing what we do.”
Bishop added: “I’m not trying to make anything harder on them than it needs to be.”
Kiely’s cause of death has not yet been confirmed due to a wait for toxicology results, sheriffs told The U.S. Sun.
Asked about the autopsy report, law enforcement provided a statement that read: “The [Nevada County] Sheriff’s Office does have possession of records responsive to your request.
“It should be noted, however, [that] the investigation is not complete and is considered ongoing at this time.
“Once the investigation is complete, [the] release will be pursuant to all privileges and/or exemptions that may apply.
“We expect the investigation, review, and redaction processes to be completed by November 1, 2022.”
They added that if the records are still not available in two months, they will further advise the media of a new date they may be released.