Diving teams and law enforcement had been searching the waters of California’s Lake Piru, which is approximately 90 kilometres northwest of downtown Los Angeles, for five days.
It appears Rivera drowned in the Lake Piru reservoir last Wednesday, where she had rented a pontoon boat with her four-year-old son, Josey Dorsey. She was 33. Her body, which was found floating in the lake at approximately 9:10 a.m. PT, is being taken to the Ventura County’s Medical Examiner’s Office, where an autopsy will be conducted.
Police confirmed that there was no reason to think Rivera’s death was a suicide or that it involved foul play.
Rivera’s young son was found on the boat by himself wearing a life-jacket late Wednesday, and the actor’s identification was also found on the vessel.
The Southern California lake was closed while officials searched its waters for the Glee star, calling it a search and recovery effort on Thursday.
Sheriff’s officials launched a boat and helicopter search last Wednesday afternoon, but that had been suspended by nighttime. The search continued early Thursday and over the weekend.
According to multiple reports, about three hours after Rivera and her son left the dock, another boater discovered their vessel drifting, with the child asleep on board.
Authorities were notified after the boat was discovered, and they began searching from the air and with a dive team.
“The child said they went swimming but the mother didn’t get back on the boat,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Eric Buschow said during a news conference before Rivera’s body was found. He said the child had on a life-jacket and that an adult life-jacket was found on the boat.
“He’s in good health,” Buschow told the Los Angeles Times of Rivera’s son at the time. “The family is going through a very traumatic time right now.
“We’re going on the belief that she did go in the water and we have not been able to locate her. So this may well be a case of drowning.”
Early Thursday morning, the Ventura Co. Sheriff Twitter account tweeted a video of a helicopter searching the water for Rivera, writing: “The missing person at Lake Puru (sic) has been identified as Naya Rivera, 33, of Los Angeles. SAR operation will continue at first light. @VCAirUnit @FilmoreSheriff @Cal_OES.”
— Ventura Co. Sheriff (@VENTURASHERIFF) July 9, 2020
Rivera’s car was found near the lake.
“The child was found asleep on the boat. Their vehicle, a black Mercedes G Wagon found in the parking lot with her purse inside,” reporter Stephanie Stanton tweeted.
Many of Rivera’s Glee co-stars, friends and fans took to Twitter once news spread that her body was found.
💔 Naya, you will be missed so much. 😞
— Josh Sussman (@JoshSussman) July 13, 2020
— Max Adler (@Mr_Max_Adler) July 13, 2020
My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you. pic.twitter.com/qX9t1Uhx01
— Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) July 14, 2020
Rest in Heaven🙏🏾 https://t.co/BS9MdZFYKi
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) July 13, 2020
naya being found on the anniversary of cory monteith’s death… i hope the people who knew them have a lot of love around them today 💔
— G (@oneofthosefaces) July 13, 2020
Naya and I were acquaintances at best, but I am heartbroken. My favorite memory will always be dancing with her at @HeatherMorrisTV’s wedding while she was pregnant with Josey. She was so happy. I know he was her world. Please pray for her family and friends. #RIPNayaRivera pic.twitter.com/6x4Zwmm41c
— Nick Bolton (@NickBolton13) July 13, 2020
Sending endless love and strength to Naya’s friends & family at this difficult time ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
— MOLLY✶McCOOK (@mollyjmccook) July 13, 2020
Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.
— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) July 13, 2020
If you don’t know who Naya Rivera is that’s okay.
But, I hope you do know that she helped me & so many others come to terms with their sexuality & garner the confidence to be open about it.
For that I will forever be grateful.
That attachment can never be broken.
Thank you. pic.twitter.com/zArEhOdFyh
— Nat // Naya ミ☆ (@brie_sparkles) July 13, 2020
Sending all my love to Naya Rivera’s son. No boy should have to grow up without his mom💔 rip Naya Rivera pic.twitter.com/Y2GSfGfU6Z
— Morgan (@mfhgraves) July 13, 2020
naya rivera is someone who offered endless people support through her gift of acting.
her talent enabled her to shape & comfort insane amounts of people when they had no one to seek guidance from.
for that & her many positive traits, she will always be respected & appreciated pic.twitter.com/1zpZdWNd2G
— faith ミ☆ (@ilomi1o) July 13, 2020
RIP Naya Rivera you'll always remain in our hearts🥺❤
Sending love to her family. I hope they find peace. pic.twitter.com/EtUsGUUmZ1
— bambino (@bami103) July 13, 2020
This gave me chills.. RIP Naya Rivera 💔 2020 has been so much pic.twitter.com/yenUpGdFOY
— Drebae💎 (@Drebae_) July 13, 2020
rest in peace naya rivera. we will never forget your beautiful voice 🕊💔 pic.twitter.com/3tvZvSJc4L
— c (@chuuzus) July 13, 2020
— 🖤 (@EspacioRip) July 13, 2020
Rivera’s four-year-old son is from her marriage with actor Ryan Dorsey. The couple finalized their divorce in June 2018 after nearly four years together.
She called her young son “my greatest success, and I will never do any better than him” in her 2016 memoir Sorry Not Sorry.
Rivera played Santana, a cheerleader in the musical-comedy Glee, which aired on Fox from 2009 until 2015. She appeared in 113 episodes of the series.
Rivera has now become the third major cast member from Glee to die in their 30s.
Cory Monteith, one of the show’s leads, died at 31 in 2013 from a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin — seven years ago to the day when Rivera’s body was recovered.
Co-star Mark Salling, who Rivera dated at one point, killed himself in 2018 at age 35 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.
Rivera was engaged to rapper Big Sean in 2013, but their relationship ended a year later. The pair met on Twitter and collaborated musically, with the rapper appearing on Rivera’s debut single Sorry.
She started her acting career at a young age and appeared on shows like The Royal Family, Family Matters and The Bernie Mac Show.
— With files from the Associated Press and Chris Jancelewicz
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.