Lake Tahoe couple who vanished on the same day as Kiely Rodni, 16, found dead
A California man and woman who went missing on the same day and in the same area near Lake Tahoe as Kiely Rodni were found dead in a levee Wednesday.
Janette “JJ” Pantoja, 29, and ex-boyfriend Juan Almanza Zavala, 36, were discovered near their car stuck in a Nevada County embankment, according to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.
Pantoja’s family alerted police shortly after her disappearance on Aug. 6 that her phone last pinged in the area where the car and bodies were found 11 days later.
During the search for her sister, Alejandra Pentoja expressed disappointment with the police for the large-scale investigation into Rodni, compared to the lack of communication she received from detectives.
Rodni, 16, disappeared from the Prosser Family Campground, about 70 miles from where the former couple’s bodies were found. Her disappearance on the same day launched a massive search that now takes about 18,000 staff hours to look for leads.
“How come they do a lot for her, but not for our relative?” said Alejandra. “It’s not okay.”
Janette ‘JJ’ Pentoja (left), 29, and ex-boyfriend Juan Almanza Zavala (right), 36, were found 70 miles from where Kiely Rodni, 16, disappeared
The vehicle that both Pentoja and Zavala were in was found along an embankment near Highway 20 and Poker Flats Road in Penn Valley, California.
California Highway Patrol responded to a report that a man had seen a crashed vehicle on the embankment, which was not visible from the road
The former couple drove a Blue 2002 Ford Explorer (pictured) as they left for an auto show in Reno, Nevada
“I thought the police were pretty rude,” Pantoja’s sister told me Fox 11. “I called them (while she was missing) because I wanted to know more about my sister, and they said we can’t keep in touch with you every day.
“They told us they would send an aerial search and they (didn’t) I just feel like if something happened, or if (Zavala) did something to her, they just give (possible suspects ) time to run.’
Pantoja and Zavala were returning home from an auto show in Reno, Nevada, according to a report by KCR. The car they were found outside was not visible from the roadway.
California Highway Patrol officials were warned about the causeway through Highway 20 and Poker Flats Road in Penn Valley after reports that a man had seen a crashed vehicle.
Reports of the vehicle’s discovery indicate that both Pantoja and Zavala were found outside the vehicle. Who was driving has not been confirmed.
Alejandra said Janette’s current boyfriend received a report the night she went missing saying she had stopped sharing her location, which was last pinged in Nevada County.
On Aug. 18, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office reported that it spent a total of 17,946 man-hours searching for Rodni. Police say they recently sent detectives on Aug. 17 to search the water and the ground.
“We just want her home,” said the teen’s mother, Lindsey Rodni-Nieman. ‘We are so scared and we miss her so much’
Placer County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Kiely Rodni’s car, a silver 2013 Honda CRV, had a ram decal just below the rear wiper blade. The license plate number is 8YUR127
She was last seen on local surveillance footage on August 5 in a black bodysuit and green Dickies pants
Authorities confirmed that Rodni was wearing a white-pink ‘Odd Future’ sweatshirt (pictured) the night she disappeared
Placer County police announced Monday that the effort to find Rodni would be scaled back next week after following more than 1,200 dead ends.
In an updated image posted to the Facebook page of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, authorities have now followed 1,550 leads and have yet to process 79.
Details of Rodni’s vehicle, a silver 2013 Honda CRV, were also released. According to the police, the car has a sticker of a ram under the rear wiper. The license plate number is 8YUR127.
Placer County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Josh Barnhart clarified that while cumulative efforts will be scaled back, authorities are “stepping on the accelerator” and “moving on this week.”
Police added that they have confirmed that Rodni was wearing the pink and white “Odd Future” sweatshirt posted on the Placer County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page the night she disappeared.
The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office is urging anyone with information about Kiely Rodni’s disappearance to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-581-6320.