LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The family of a Pacoima boy who went missing earlier this month confirmed Sunday that his body was found on an island in the Los Angeles River.
Elias Rodriguez’s family told CBS2 that the body pulled Saturday from a wash near Los Feliz Boulevard was that of the missing 14-year-old. The body was found sometime before 1:15 p.m. Saturday in the 3500 block of West Los Feliz Boulevard, near Interstate 5. Relatives said it was a family member who helped to spot the body in the river. While authorities have not officially confirmed that the body found was that of Rodriguez, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti released the following statement Sunday that read in part.
“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.”
He added: “Words cannot capture the agony that Elias’ grieving family has felt since his disappearance. I’ve asked my Crisis Response Team, who have been with the family, to do everything possible to help them through what is surely their worst nightmare.”
Rodriguez, 14, disappeared Feb. 17, during heavy rains. He was last seen about 1:30 p.m. that day leaving Cesar Chavez Learning Academies at 1001 Arroyo Ave. Investigators said security cameras captured him walking home from school to his grandmother’s. His trail disappeared by the Pacoima wash, about 18 miles from where the body was found.
The LAPD says, just before disappearing, Rodriguez had borrowed a cell phone to call his mother to pick him up from school. When she didn’t answer, he started walking to his grandmother’s house in the rain.
“Talking to his friends that walk with him, it was learned that he would cross the canal to make a short cut,” the captain said.
In the days following his disappearance, the public and FBI joined the search. On Saturday, dozens of volunteers canvassed the San Fernando area with fliers.
“A young man who has had a … it’s difficult to talk about. It’s a hard scene to see,” said Capt. Peter Casey of the LAPD.
The coroner has yet to determine the exact cause of death. Meanwhile, Rodriguez’s family has asked for privacy.