Naya Rivera death: Missing Glee actor found dead after five day search at Lake Piru

14 July 2020, 09:50

Naya Rivera, 33, found dead at Lake Piru, California
Naya Rivera, 33, found dead at Lake Piru, California. Picture: Getty

Glee actress Naya Rivera, 33, has been pronounced dead after police identify a body in Lake Piru, California – where she had gone missing.

By Tiana Williams

Police have found a body in a lake in the US state of California, which they have identified as the missing Glee star, Naya Rivera.

Naya Rivera's family & ex Ryan Dorsey join ongoing search for missing Glee star

Rivera, 33, went missing on Wednesday (Jul 8) after going boating with her four-year-old son at Lake Piru. Rivera's son Josey Dorsey – who she shares with Actor Ryan Dorsey – was found alone and asleep on the boat.

On Monday (Jul 13) Divers and search teams using sonar equipment found the body of Naya Rivera.

Sheriff Bill Ayub delivered a news conference speech at the shore of the lake on Monday, where the Ventura County Sheriff Department said police were "confident" the body was that of Rivera.

Cast members from Glee and friends gathered Monday morning at Lake Piru, California
Cast members from Glee and friends gathered Monday morning at Lake Piru, California. Picture: Getty

“She must have mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself,” Ayub said at the news conference.

Ayub added that there was no indication of foul play or that she took her own life.

Rivera's four-year-old son told police they had gone swimming, but his mother never returned to the boat.

Naya Rivera's four-year-old son Josey was found alone and asleep on a boat at Lake Piru
Naya Rivera's four-year-old son Josey was found alone and asleep on a boat at Lake Piru. Picture: Getty

After an extensive search and rescue operation found no trace of Rivera, police moved to a "search and recovery operation".

The search required side-scanning sonar, divers, sniffer dogs, helicopters and remote-operated submarine vehicles equipped with cameras.

A spokesman for the police department, Sgt Kevin Donoghue, said they were "putting every available asset and resource" into the search.

Donoghue also revealed that that Rivera's son had seen his mother "disappear beneath the water".

Fellow Glee Star, Jane Lynch paid tribute to Rivera, writing "Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were," on Twitter. "Love and peace to your family."

Another Glee co-star, Josh Sussman, tweeted: "Naya, you will be missed so much."

Naya Rivera began her acting career at an early age and became most famous for her role as cheerleader Santana Lopez in Glee, which ran on Fox from 2009 to 2015.

R.I.P Naya Rivera. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and fans.

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