Former Glee star Naya Rivera is missing after a swimming accident at Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. The news was confirmed by the Ventura County sheriff’s department.
At 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the Sheriff’s department was investigating a possible drowning victim at Lake Piru. A dive team and police investigation team were dispatched to the area.
The Ventura County sheriff’s department identified the missing person as Rivera later on Wednesday night. They confirmed that a search and rescue operation was underway and will continue on Thursday morning.
When did the search begin
A search for Rivera began when the actress and her son, Josey Dorsey, failed to return a rental boat to the facilities after the 3 hours she paid for.
The County Sheriff’s department revealed that Rivera rented the boat around 1 p.m. Approximately 3 hours later, another boater discovered her 4 year old son asleep in the boat by himself. Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Captain, Eric Buschow, explained that investigators arrived at the scene around 4:40 p.m. and found the toddler “unharmed.”
The actress was reportedly swimming in the lake with her son, but reports state that only the boy got back on the boat. Josey told authorities that his mother went into the water for a swim, but never came back up or returned to the boat.
While Josey was found wearing a life vest, it is presumed Rivera was not wearing one. This is because an adult-sized one was found on the boat. Buschow said of Josey, “He’s in good health. The family is going through a very traumatic time right now.”
A search was immediately initiated with the use of helicopters, divers, and drones. The actress has not yet been found. However, Authorities reportedly believe Rivera to be dead.
Lake Piru is a reservoir located in the Los Padres National Forest and Topatopa Mountains. ‘This is a big reservoir. It’s deep, these kinds of things happen,” said Buschow. “We don’t know all the circumstances. Investigators are working on that, getting as much information as possible.
The Sheriff’s Department announced that the search for Rivera was suspended well into the evening, and that search and rescue effort would continue “at first light” on Thursday.
Former Glee Stars offer their prayers and support
As news broke, Rivera’s former Glee co-stars spoke out publicly on social media.
Naya’s co-star, Heather Morris took to Instagram asking for everyone’s support. “We need all the prayers we can get to bring our Naya back home to us. We need your love and light.”
Shortly after news of Rivera’s disappearance broke, Naya’s former Glee co-star Harry Shum Jr. tweeted, simply, “Praying.”
Demi Lovato, who guest starred as a love interest for Rivera’s Santana Lopez, asked fans to pray for the actress on her Instagram Story. “Please pray for @nayarivera to be found safe and sound,” alongside a photo of a lit candle.
Naya’s career so far
Rivera is best known for her role as Santana Lopez, from 2009 until 2015, on the Fox series Glee. After her breakout role on the musical series, she went on to appear in Devious Maids and Step Up: High Water. As part of the Glee cast, she received several nominations at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Grammy’s and Teen Choice Awards. She signed to Columbia Records in 2011 and released a single, titled “Sorry,” with rapper Big Sean.
In the years following the show’s finale, multiple cast members have faced tragic fates.
Cory Monteith died in 2013 from a drug overdose, and Rivera’s ex Mark Salling died by suicide in 2018.
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