The body of actress Naya Rivera has been recovered from Lake Piru in Ventura County, California, on Monday, July 13, five days after the former “Glee” star went missing there in an apparent boating accident last week.
“We are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera,” Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said Monday.
Ayub spoke as Ventura County Sheriff’s Department officials held a news conference Monday afternoon to confirm that the body found earlier that morning was that of the 33-year-old actress. Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Buschow told reporters during the news conference that Rivera’s body was being flown from Lake Piru to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office, where an autopsy would be conducted.
Rivera went to the lake on Wednesday, July 8, with her 4-year-old son Josey Dorsey, where she rented a pontoon boat and they swam. When the boat didn’t return to shore on time, staff members found it on the lake’s north side, with Josey sleeping aboard alone.
Josey told authorities that he and his mother went swimming and she never made it out of the water. The rescue operation turned into a recovery mission after one day.
According to Us Weekly, Rivera took a photo of Josey while on the boat about 90 minutes before her disappearance, and sent it to a family member. Authorities used that image during their search.
“There was a picture sent to a family member that showed the boy on the boat by a cove,” said Robert Inglis of Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue in an interview with the magazine. “We found where that cove was … We did send our dive members to those two locations and searched those extensively.”
The actress’s ex-husband Ryan Dorsey went to the lake on Saturday and was seen standing in the water with his father and others, seemingly as a way to mourn his ex’s disappearance.
Rivera began acting as a young child and landed her first major role at 4 years old on “The Royal Family,” a CBS sitcom created by Eddie Murphy that aired in the early ’90s.
She’s best known for playing Santana Lopez on the Fox series “Glee” from 2009 to 2015. But Rivera was also a singer and signed a record deal with Columbia Records in 2011.
Two years later she released the song “Sorry,” featuring Big Sean. The two were engaged, but split in 2014.