California

Body of missing Los Angeles teen recovered, police say

Alicia Acuna reports from California

 

The body of a 14-year-old boy who vanished in Southern California during a powerful storm earlier this month was found Saturday on an island in the Los Angeles River, police said.

Los Angeles police said the body of Elias Rodriguez was recovered at around 1:15 p.m. along a stretch of the river in Los Feliz. An unidentified person reported finding the body to police.

Victoria White, a police spokeswoman, said the Sylmar teen, may have been swept away by the Pacoima Wash during the storm. The wash flows into the Los Angeles River.

"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," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. "Words cannot capture the agony that Elias' grieving family has felt since his disappearance."

Elias was reported missing on Feb. 17 after he did not return home after school.

Police said at a news conference that the river was flowing at around 70 mph at the time of the storm and that the teen’s body appeared to be badly battered. Police indicated that it could take a while before the coroner could officially identify the body.

Authorities said Elias was returning home from school at around 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 17 and called his mother to tell her that he was on his way home.

Surveillance footage showed the teen walking along a road during the storm that brought dangerous wind and rain to the area.

The Los Angeles City Council offered a $50,000 reward for information about the teen’s disappearance.

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