Naya Rivera’s Body Identified At Lake Where She Went Missing – Update

Tom Tapp and Nellie Andreeva
·10 min read

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UPDATED, Monday, 2:10 PM: Naya Rivera’s body was recovered and identified. Read the story here.

UPDATED, Monday, 9:54 AM: The Ventura County’s Sheriff Department said Monday that they have found a body at Lake Piru, where officials have been searching since the disappearance of actress Naya Rivera last week.

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The Ventura Sheriff said the body was found this morning and a recovery is in progress. A news conference is set for 2 PM at the lake, a reservoir in the Los Padres National Forest and Topatopa Mountains of Ventura County.

The Tulare County Sheriffs and San Luis Obispo Sheriffs have also been participating in the search for Rivera, who is presumed dead after diving off a boat into Lake Piru and never resurfacing. She was accompanied by her 4-year-old son who was found asleep in their rented pontoon boat.

The search has been ongoing and hampered by difficult conditions including hot weather and unwieldy terrain around the lake.

 

UPDATE, Sunday, 12 PM: Ventura County’s Sheriff Department on Sunday provided an update on their recovery efforts following the Wednesday disappearance of actress Naya Rivera.

The authorities confirmed that the search at Lake Piru includes buildings in the surrounding and said that the search will continue on a day-to-day basis going forward. Sonar scans of the lake are expected to be completed by end of day Sunday.

The Sheriff’s department also advised against private search parties, noting the hot weather and treacherous terrain around the lake, which remains closed.

The search effort continues to involve diving teams.

UPDATE, Saturday, 11 AM: The Ventura County Sheriffs Department is continuing its search today for Naya Rivera at Lake Piru.

The murky and debris-strewn lake has made recovery efforts difficult for the search teams. The Tulare County Sheriffs and San Luis Obispo Sheriffs are also participating in the search for Rivera, who is presumed dead after diving off a boat into Lake Piru and never resurfacing.

UPDATE: Friday, 3:30 PM. A Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson gave an update on Friday about the efforts to find Glee actress Naya Rivera. Rivera has been missing since Wednesday when she disappeared while swimming at Lake Piru north of Los Angeles. The boat she rented was found later in the day with her four-year-old son asleep on board.

There were fewer people searching for Rivera on Friday, down to 40 from 100 the day before. The reasons for the reduction, said the spokesperson, were the dangers of low visibility and what he yesterday described as “trees and plants and such that are under the water that can cause entanglements.” Shallow in parts, at its lowest point underwater, the lake is over 1,000 feet deep.

As a result, rescuers were trying to be both safer and more effective, using technology and special dogs to narrow their search on Friday. “We’re not putting divers in the water at the same rate,” said the spokesperson. “We’re using sonar to identify things and then sending divers down to investigate. With the technology we can search larger areas more efficiently.”

“Last night they had a couple images that showed up that they thought might be promising,” said the Sheriff’s spokesperson. He indicated that, after the search resumed at 6 a.m. Friday morning, a robotic submarine was sent down to those spots. “Unfortunately, they did not locate Naya Rivera,” he said.

The search team was also taking dogs out on boats to see if they could help where sonar could not. Boats combed the lake with the animals positioned at the rear, apparently because dogs can detect scents from the bottom of lakes that are stirred up by the bubbles a boat propeller produces.

The search will continue on the north side and east sides of lake for the remainder of Friday, predominantly in an area called “The Narrows” where the boat Rivera rented was found.

UPDATE: Thursday, 4:30 PM. A search and rescue operation has turned into a recovery effort for Glee’s Naya Rivera. The actress has been missing since Wednesday when she disappeared while swimming at Lake Piru north of Los Angeles.

“We’re presuming that an accident happened and we’re presuming she drowned in the lake,” Deputy Chris Dyer said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. “The goal is still to bring Miss Rivera home to her family,” he said.

The Ventura County Sheriffs Department also released the security camera footage from the Lake Piru boat launch. Possibly the last footage of Rivera alive, it shows the actress and and her son as they arrive and rent a pontoon boat.

 

Some 100 volunteers and public safety personnel from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Coast Guard and specialized dive teams from Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties, were involved in the search for Rivera, but her body had not been found by Thursday afternoon.

Divers were experiencing less than one foot of visibility in the water, even in daylight. “In that area, there’s a lot of trees and plants and such that are under the water that can cause entanglements,” said a Sheriff’s Department spokesperson. “It makes it unsafe for the divers and makes it a more complicated search.” The difficult conditions have made the recovery operation a very slow process. Crews were also were using sonar to help with the search.

Sheriff’s officials said there was no evidence of foul play.

In a 911 call released on Thursday by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, the woman who first notified authorities of a missing woman identifies herself as the wife of one of the workers at the lake. The call reveals few new details and even contains one factual error. The woman on the call says she believes a little girl was found in the boat when, in fact, it was Rivera’s 4-year-old son.

Several Glee alums took to social media on Thursday to offer prays for their former co-star:

Demi Lovato, who also played opposite Rivera on the hit show, posted an Instagram story asking people to “Please pray for @nayarivera to be found safe and sound.”

UPDATE, Thursday, 11 a.m. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department has called in specialized dive teams in their Lake Piru search for actress Naya Rivera. “Our hearts and prayers go out the all of the family and friends of the Rivera family,” the Department tweeted.

The VCSD did not officially announce that Rivera is presumed dead.

“We have mutual aid for specialized dive teams en route from Los Angeles County, San Luis Obispo County, and Tulare County,” the VCSD tweet said. “We will keep you posted with any updates as we learn them. Our hearts and prayers go out the all of the family and friends of the Rivera family.”

UPDATE, Thursday, 6 a.m. The search for Naya Rivera is continuing this morning at Lake Piru in Southern California, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said today. The lake will be closed to the public while search operations continue, and dive teams from throughout the region will be assisting us through mutual aid.

PREVIOUS, Wednesday night Actress Naya Rivera went missing Wednesday on Lake Piru in Southern California. Ventura County Sheriff’s Department officials launched search for the Glee alumna after her 4-year-old son was found alone on a boat in the lake Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, cited by KCBS-TV, Rivera rented the boat at about 1 PM. About three hours later, another boater found the child in the boat by himself. According to reports, the boy told authorities that he and Rivera had been swimming, his mom jumped in the water but did not come back up to the boat.

A search was launched immediately for Rivera, identified by the Sheriff’s Department as “possible drowning victim,” which involved helicopters, drones and dive teams. The entire shoreline and surface of the lake were thoroughly searched, according to officials. Operations were suspended due to darkness Wednesday night but is expected to resume Thursday morning.

Best known for her role as Santana Lopez on the popular Fox dramedy Glee, Rivera stars in Step Up: High Water, which started on YouTube and was recently picked up for a second season by Starz.

Here is Rivera’s last Instagram post from Tuesday, featuring a photo with her son:

View this post on Instagram

just the two of us

A post shared by Naya Rivera (@nayarivera) on Jul 7, 2020 at 3:15pm PDT

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