Body found amid search for missing San Fernando teen

SAN FERNANDO, Calif. (KABC) -- The body of a young man was found on an island in the Los Angeles River in Los Feliz and officials were working to determine if they have found the San Fernando 14-year-old who has been missing for more than a week.

A search volunteer found the body around 2 p.m. on a small island in the river off Los Feliz Boulevard and the 5 Freeway. A bicycle was also removed from the scene.

Family members of Elias Rodriguez gathered at the scene after the discovery of the body was announced.

Police confirmed the body appeared to be a "young man" who seemed to have been there for about eight days - or since the time Eli disappeared. As of late Saturday night, the county coroner's office said it had not yet made an identification on the body.

The said the body had appeared to suffer damage, possibly as a result of being in strong flood waters, which had reached up to 70 mph on the day of heavy rains when Eli went missing.

The location was about 18 miles south of where Eli would have been taking his normal after-school route to his grandmother's house.

Dozens of friends, family and community members have been searching areas throughout the northeast San Fernando Valley for the missing teenager. As news of the discovery reached them, many flocked to the scene along the river. One woman was seen nearly collapsing and being held up by family members.

Eli has been missing since Feb. 17, when he was last seen leaving Cesar Chavez Learning Academies.

His family and police have asked the public to aid in the search and a $50,000 reward has been offered. The FBI also joined in on the search efforts after police scoured nearby washes and the neighborhood he was last seen in with no results.

The day Eli went missing was filled with heavy downpours as a massive storm swept through the area. Investigators searched nearby washes, including the one behind his school, but did not find anything.
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