LAPD Dive Team, Volunteers Join Search for Missing 14-Year-Old Boy

Elias Rodriguez was last leaving school during Friday's powerful Southern California storm

The search for a missing 14-year-old boy, who vanished while walking home from school during one of the worst storms to hit Southern California in years, continued Saturday with help from the LAPD Underwater Dive Unit and about 100 volunteers.

Elias Rodriguez, of San Fernando, was last seen at around 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, in the 1000 block of Arroyo Street. The dive team is searching the wash because because it borders his grandmother's house.

The FBI announced Thursday that they were assisting local police in the search.

Since then, his family and the community have banded together in trying to find him.

"At times you just want to scream out his name and hope that he can hear you," said his aunt, Jessenia Vega.

On the day he went missing, Rodriguez borrowed a friend's cell phone to call his mother and to ask if she could pick him up. His mother did not recognize the caller ID, so she did not answer the call, police said.

Rodriguez's family said he has not run away before, and it is not in his character to take off. His aunt said said he is a quiet boy who goes home to play his X-Box. 

The LAPD Mission Area announced the FBI was assisting in Rodriguez's search. Spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told NBC4 the LAPD is leading the case, and that it is "not uncommon" for the FBI to join local police in "all sorts of cases with resources, manpower, technical or otherwise." 

Officers planned to walk the area that Elias usually took home from school. 

"We're going to be going door to door, business to business along his route," said LAPD Lt. Katie Burns. "We believe this case is unusual because Elias is not known to run away."

Neighbors organized their own community search for Saturday at 7 a.m. People who were mostly strangers gathered from all over to go from door to door and hand out flyers, splitting up to cover several square miles of San Fernando.

The FBI knocked on doors Saturday, searching homes and the trunks of cars for any sign of the missing teen. The LAPD Underwater Dive Unit also joined the efforts by searching an unspecified area of the Pacoima Wash.

"We miss him, we need him home, and that if you know anything or have any information about him, no one is going to get in trouble," Vega said. "We just want to make sure he is safe, and we just need you home, Elias."

Rodriguez was described as a 5-feet 4-inches tall, with brown hair and brown eyes, weighing approximately 100 pounds.

Detectives from the LAPD's Mission Station asked anyone with information regarding the boy's whereabouts to call them at 818-838-9800.

Marin Austin contributed to this report.

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