California dive team finds missing man in Lodi delta
LODI, Calif. - A California dive team has found a man who went missing two months ago in a delta near Lodi.
Jacob VanZant's body was found underwater in his Honda Pilot around 12 p.m. Saturday by divers of Adventures with Purpose, the same dive team who recovered the remains of Keily Rodni in a Truckee reservoir last fall.
Team leader Jared Leisek posted about their grim discovery and described finding 25 cars immersed underwater during their two-day search.
The San Joaquin County coroner confirmed to KTVU it was VanZant's body the divers recovered.
The 24-year-old had gone missing on Feb. 17 after he picked up sushi in Lodi for his a girlfriend who lives in Stockton, officials said.
VanZant's SUV was also missing so the family hired a private investigator and the dive team to help in the search, Leisek said.
The roadways between Lodi and Stockton are surrounded by twisting deltas. Multiple intersections dead end into unbarricaded water.
Jacob VanZant's body was found in his Honda Pilot on April 15 near Lodi. Photo credit: Adventures with Purpose
The dive team narrowed their search area based on his last cell phone ping.
Leisek said that anywhere along that stretch, if drivers aren't paying attention, they can end up in trouble quickly.
"You make a turn, you look down at your radio, you pick up your phone, you don't even need to be intoxicated," Leisek said during the Facebook live. "You could potentially end up in the water."
VanZant was found where Eight Mile Road dead ends at Little Potato Slough, Leisek explained.
Photos from the recovery show a tow truck taking a badly damaged SUV out of the water. Leisek said it is believed the front-end damage was a result of the vehicle going into the delta at a high rate of speed.
"The front windshield was blown out and Jacob was doing everything he could to make his way out of the vehicle," Leisik said.
After they removed VanZant from the water, he was brought by law enforcement to the coroner's office.
The dive team said they were surprised to find so many other cars in the delta during their search. The vehicles were found immersed in the water where crosses and memorials stood at the side of the road, Leisek said.