LAPD Investigating Young Man’s Body Found on Island in L.A. River Amid Search for Missing Teen

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The body of a young man was found Saturday on a small island in the L.A. River near Los Feliz, and police were on scene investigating.

Recovery crews investigate a dead body found on an island in the L.A. River on Feb. 25, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)
Recovery crews investigate a dead body found on an island in the L.A. River on Feb. 25, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)

The discovery of the body was reported about 1:15 p.m. at 3510 W. Los Feliz and the 5 Freeway, the Los Angeles Police Department reported. About 30 divers searched the area along the 5 and 170 freeways before the body was located in a pooling basin, where water is collected, LAPD Capt. Peter Casey said.

Authorities had been tipped off to the possibility of a body in the area by a volunteer searching for Elias Rodriguez, the 14-year-old boy reported missing in San Fernando last week. He was last seen walking home from school in the 1000 block of Arroyo Street on Feb. 17, when a powerful storm hit the Los Angeles area.

"It has not been confirmed, and we are not able to confirm, if that young man is Elias Rodriguez at this time,” Casey emphasized.

After the victim was located detectives worked through the scene's rocky terrain full of foliage and debris to rule out foul play having a role in the death, Casey said. Around 9 p.m. LAPD crews recovered the young man's body from the river and relayed it to the coroner, who was working to identify the victim.

Rodriguez's family, however, remained at the scene through the evening, hoping to learn whether the discovery would provide closure to their tragedy.

Casey said the condition of the body and scene were "difficult to talk about" but noted the body had been battered from traveling down the canal through rushing water and was now surrounded by trash and debris. Currents reached up to 70 mph Friday, he noted.

Casey guessed that Rodriguez's did not use an overpass while walking home from school on Feb. 17, instead walking down and through the Pacoima Wash, which he said is common with most of the high school students. The Pacoima Wash feeds into the Tujunga Wash, which is a tributary of the L.A. River.

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