TRUCKEE, Calif. (KRON) — The duo behind Adventures With Purpose, a volunteer search team that found 16-year-old Kiely Rodni’s body, will remain in California to continue searching for more missing people.
Adventures With Purpose leaders Doug Bishop and Nick Rinn said their next volunteer mission will be to search for 22-year-old Jolissa Fuentes, who vanished in Fresno County on August 7.
Fuentes was last seen driving her silver Hyundai Accent away from a gas station in Selma, Calif., at 4 a.m. She was recorded by the gas station’s surveillance cameras “and appears to be by herself,” the Selma Police Chief Rudy Alcaraz said. The Selma Police Department launched a missing person investigation.
Alcaraz said Fuentes’ cellphone’s final “ping” was transmitted near Pine Flat Lake and Avocado Lake in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
Over the past four days, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office has searched for the missing woman using helicopters, all-terrain Jeeps, boats, and underwater dive teams. They found no signs of Fuentes.
“Nothing has shown up. It’s very rare that a 22-year-old girl has no digital footprint, i.e., cellphone, social media, bank cards, things of that nature. The Fuentes family was adamant that this was not normal behavior for Jolissa, which brings us our concern,” Chief Alcaraz told reporters Monday.
“She has been gone for a long time. We are treating this as a criminal matter,” the police chief said.
Adventures With Purpose said it has solved 23 cold cases, giving closure and answers to grieving families whose loved ones mysteriously vanished. The Oregon-based private volunteer group specializes in underwater searches.
AWP’s certified diver, Nick Rinn, dove into Prosser Lake on Sunday and found the missing Truckee teenager inside her SUV. The SUV was submerged under 14 feet of water with Rodni’s body still inside.
The Nevada County Sheriff and Placer County Sheriff’s dive teams had previously searched Prosser Lake “extensively,” but AWP decided to do their own dive.
Rodni was reported missing on August 6 after she attended a party with 200-300 juveniles and young adults at the Prosser Family Campground in Nevada County. Her cellphone’s final ping was near Prosser Lake. Rodni’s mother reported her missing when she realized her daughter never made it home from the party.
The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said it is going to look into why, even after two weeks of searches, its investigators were unable to find Rodni, while Adventures With Purpose was able to find her in less than two days using a small yellow boat.
Rinn said his diving experience and high-tech sonar equipment helped him see the submerged vehicle in the lake. A reporter asked the Nevada County Sheriff directly, “What did Adventures With Purpose have, that you guys didn’t have?”
Sheriff’s Captain Sam Brown said, “Nothing is perfect. It’s complex and it’s tough. The lake was extensively searched. We had sonar, we had divers, we had swimmers. Tracking underwater is an extremely difficult thing to do. A lot of this equipment is expensive. We are going to debrief and try to figure out how we can do better with these kinds of investigations.”
The California Highway Patrol is investigating what caused Rodni’s SUV to crash into the lake. An autopsy was performed on Tuesday and a coroner confirmed her identity.
Rodni’s family released a statement, writing, “Friends, Family, Law Enforcement, Media, and our Global Community: We are eternally grateful for the love and support you have shown us in the last couple of weeks. 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.”
Adventures With Purpose said it will also be joining the search for 75-year-old Annette Adams in San Luis Obispo County. The woman, also known as Annette Marotto, was last heard from on April 25, 2021 and may have been driving a black 2020 Buick Enclave.