Southern California

Coroner IDs Body Found on LA River Island as Teen Who Disappeared in Rainstorm

The Los Angeles County coroner's office confirmed Tuesday that a body found on an island in the Los Angeles River on Saturday in Los Feliz was that of 14-year-old Elias Rodriguez of Sylmar, who had been reported missing during the worst storm of the year in Southern California.

Rodriguez went missing on the afternoon of Feb. 17 after leaving Cesar Chavez Learning Academies in San Fernando during a powerful rainstorm,according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The teen had borrowed someone's cellphone to call his mother at work to ask if she could pick him up but she missed the call, police said.

Authorities sought public help to find him, and Los Angeles police were joined by the FBI in the search. 

The body was found at 1:15 p.m. Saturday on the island near the Golden State Freeway and Los Feliz Boulevard.

Rodriguez's family held a news conference Tuesday evening to thank law enforcement and those who assisted in the search for the teen, although they still have a lot of questions. 

"Through our great pain, we are grateful," Rodriguez's aunt Jessenia Vega said.

"So much love and support has been expressed to us. That is the good that came out of this," she continued.

Vega called for better security around the Pacoima wash, saying that a warning sign is not enough.

"Looking down at the wash, we need these areas to be secure."

The family will hold a candlelight vigil for Rodriguez Friday at 7 p.m. They will light the path where he would have walked home from school, she said. 

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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