LOS FELIZ—At 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, February 25, the body of Elias Rodriguez, 14, of Sylmar who went missing on February 17, was found on an island in the Los Angeles River on the 3500 block of West Los Feliz Boulevard.
According to the LAPD Blog, authorities along with members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Los Angeles School Police, and San Fernando Police Department commenced an investigation to locate Rodriguez. On February 22, the Los Angeles City Council issued a $50,000 reward for information regarding the teen’s location.
According to authorities, Elias was last seen leaving Cesar Chavez Learning Academies located at 1001 Arroyo Avenue in San Fernando. Surveillance footage showed Elias walking along Glenoaks Boulevard, during one of the most powerful storms to hit Southern California in recent years. He left a voicemail for his mother on the day he went missing, indicating that he was walking towards his grandmother’s home, which is about 18 miles north from where his body was recovered.
The LAPD Operations-Valley Bureau’s Deputy Chief Robert Green sent out a text message informing recipients that the teen’s body had been discovered around 1:15 p.m. at 3510 W. Los Feliz Blvd adjacent to Interstate 5. Green also told reporters that the body, which had been in the water for approximately eight days, was “too battered” for family members to view. Police stated in a news conference that the waves in the river reached 70 mph at the time of the storm. The body, believed to have been swept away by the Pacoima wash, appeared to have undergone severe damage.
Canyon News spoke with Officer Mike Lopez of the LAPD and Rudy Molano, an investigator for the Los Angeles County Department Medical Examiner-Coroner. Neither Lopez nor Molano were able to provide additional information on the case.
Family members gathered at the location where the body was discovered. Upon hearing the news, friends and community members joined them at the scene.
“There is nothing more painful than the loss of a child, and the thoughts and prayers of all Angelenos are with the loved ones of Elias Rodriguez,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement, released on Sunday morning. “Words cannot capture the agony that Elias’ grieving family has felt since his disappearance. I’ve asked my Crisis Response Team, who have been with the family, to do everything possible to help them through what is surely their worst nightmare.”
Elias’ family has asked for privacy as the family deals with the teen’s death.
Written By Alexandra Evans and Joanne Yi