Death of 14-year-old boy found in L.A. River is ruled accidental drowning

Pahola Mascorro, the mother of Elias Rodriguez, appears at a police news conference.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A 14-year-old boy whose body was found Saturday in the Los Angeles River accidentally drowned, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

Elias Rodriguez’s body was recovered about 1:15 p.m. Saturday when it was found on an island in a stretch of the river in Los Feliz, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Authorities think Elias may have been swept away by the Pacoima Wash that feeds into the L.A. River.


Elias was reported missing Feb. 17, when he failed to return home after school during a powerful winter storm. At a news conference Saturday night, police said the L.A. River was flowing at 70 mph at the time of the storm and that the body appeared badly battered.

Elias was last seen about 1:30 p.m. after he left Cesar Chavez Learning Academies in the city of San Fernando, police said. He borrowed a friend’s cellphone and left a message for his mother, saying he was walking home to Sylmar, authorities said.

Surveillance video in the area showed Elias walking in front of businesses along Glenoaks Boulevard as powerful winds and pounding rain pummeled parts of Southern California.

Police scoured the river last week and found no sign of the teen. On Friday, local and federal officers canvassed business owners along Glenoaks Boulevard, handing out photos of the missing boy.

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