The Girl in the Water

Compiling the footage of Prosser Reservoir from the Alder Hill fire camera


Heads up
Tails up
Running to your scallywag

Night falls
Morning calls
Catch you
With my death bag

Prosser Reservoir and its surrounds are beautiful, melancholic and haunting. Most people would not have heard of Prosser were it not for the death of Kiely (pronounced exactly like ‘Kylie’) Rodni, a girl who was a month away from her 17th birthday. From what we know about Kiely, she was happy, vibrant, and musically gifted. Truckee itself, though, is somewhat well known as being one of America’s most haunted towns.

Kiely and her car, a silver 2013 Honda CR-V, went missing after midnight on August 6th. Law enforcement, including local police, CHP and the FBI, supposedly scoured Prosser Reservoir, in the case that Kiely had driven her car into the water. After all, her phone last pinged right near the water. Surely, but sadly, this had to be a typical case of a driver who took a wrong turn and drove straight into the water.

They found nothing, although it came out later that the diving teams were instructed to go no further out than 25 feet. Nonetheless, her car was seen in the water by several people, including Stoney Stone, who used satellite sonar imagery. He found the car on August 7th, and reported that fact. Yet, nothing was done.

CORRECTION: I just discovered that Stoney Stone did not in fact located Kiely’s car. He interpreted an artefact on Google Maps as a sonar image of the car. But in fact this artefact is still there on Google Maps:

Further, this spot is not where Kiely’s car was found.

Nothing, that is, until the Internet called upon Adventures With Purpose (AWP) to investigate. Their claim to fame was locating cars in bodies of water, often related to missing persons cases. Their good work has helped many families find closure when they otherwise would have had none. However, AWP has never before involved themselves with open cases.

AWP was told that Prosser had already been searched, so they searched all the surrounding bodies of water where Kiely’s car might be found. They came up with nothing, and so they decided that they would search Prosser after all. It was their last shot.

They found her car on 21st August, around the middle of the day, 50 feet out from shore and 14 feet down. To give you an idea of how deep the water was, the 2013 CR-V is a little bit longer than 14 feet (slightly more than 4.5m). If you stood the car vertically on the bottom of the reservoir, at the spot where the car was found, the other end would stick up a few inches out of the water.

Not long after that, it was revealed that footage existed of the car going into the water. As it turns out, there are firewatch cameras all over California. The one that captured Kiely’s car going into Prosser is located on Alder Hill. It doesn’t always face Prosser, but thankfully it did on the night of August 5th and the morning of August 6th.

The footage is actually 0.5 fps – one frame taken every two seconds. The images from the firewatch cameras are archived and can be accessed publicly. That is where I got the frames from. You can download the frames yourself from here.

There are a few problems with the footage. One is that it’s a wide shot. Remember that these cameras are firewatch cameras, not surveillance cameras. They exist solely for the public to help in spotting fires before they grow too big. So it’s nobody’s fault that we can only see pinpoints of light at night.

Secondly, and infuriatingly, there is a red light near the site of the Alder Hill camera which turns on and off all night. And it spills into the camera, causing annoying flares. It doesn’t obscure what we need to see but it really is annoying.

Thirdly, the cameras often lose focus when it gets dark. This makes it slightly more difficult to see precisely where light sources are located. It also doesn’t help that the camera is not completely rock steady, and there is a slight about of ‘gate weave’ (even though digital cameras don’t have gate weave per se).

The footage may not seem to reveal much, except to confirm the exact time that Kiely’s car hit the water. However, a reasonable estimate of the speed of the car was calculated by several observers, and that speed was about 10mph. We don’t know if the airbag deployed, but based on the estimated speed, it’s not likely that the impact with the water was enough to trigger the airbag. And in that case, it’s not likely that the car’s Event Data Recorder was triggered (it only records 30 seconds worth of data around an event).

From page 21 of the Honda 2013 CR-V Online Reference Owner’s Manual

We can see a lot of other activity occurring before and after Kiely’s car was submerged. We can see what seems to be people – i.e. car headlights – meeting for non-trivial periods of time. Were they trying to figure out where Kiely was? Did they suspect that she drove her car into the water? If so, everyone knew she was dead not long after half past midnight.

And if people knew what happened to Kiely, nobody said anything to police or to the press. And the search parties, the Teen To Teen talks, all of it, was a smokescreen.

I don’t really want to go into the conspiracy of how Kiely’s friends and family failed her. This is just a place to share my time-lapse videos of the Alder Hill camera. However, make no mistake, even if Kiely simply drove her car into Prosser purely by accident, there is absolutely a conspiracy of silence and deception about it. That is the best case scenario. But I think it’s worse that that.

There are two time-lapses that I have prepared. The first is all the frames from 5th August 4pm to 6th August 6am. The second is all frames from 4th August 3:15pm to 6th August 9am. In both cases, I have overlaid a daylight frame, where appropriate. I have also prepared a blink comparison video, which covers 3.5 minutes up until Kiely’s car’s headlights are no longer visible.

The shorter time-lapse:

The longer time-lapse:

The blink comparison:

I have made my observations, and I will let you make yours. Perhaps in the near future I will make a post about what I think are noteworthy moments.

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