This news comes just hours after the Ventura County Sheriff’s department said that a body had been found at Lake Piru. During a press conference, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said the body, which they are “confident” is that of Rivera’s, was discovered floating at the surface of the lake by personnel searching by boat early Monday morning.
An autopsy will be conducted and positive identification of Rivera’s remains will be made through dental records, Ayub said.
Capt. Eric Buschow also told E! News exclusively that Rivera’s Glee “cast members and friends gathered for a prayer at the water’s edge just before the body was found.”
On Wednesday, July 8, the Glee star went missing while boating with her young son on Lake Piru, a reservoir located about 50 miles north of Los Angeles. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said authorities were called to Lake Piru when a child, later identified as 4-year-old Josey Dorsey, was found alone on a boat. According to authorities, Naya and Josey are said to have rented the pontoon boat and went swimming in the lake, however, the actress never returned to the boat. It’s reported that the toddler was wearing a life-vest, while Rivera was not.
A search-and-rescue operation began at the lake, but was suspended Wednesday evening. Efforts resumed early Thursday morning. At that point, authorities said they shifted the search to a “recovery operation.”
The Sheriff’s Department said upwards of 100 law enforcement and emergency personnel were “searching the depths of Lake Piru for the body of Naya Rivera who is missing with all indications she drowned.”
“The goal is still to bring Ms. Rivera home to her family so that they can have closure,” Ventura County Sheriff Deputy Chris Dyer stated at the time.
Authorities do not suspect foul play in Rivera’s death. In fact, Capt. Eric Buschow told E! News in a recent interview, prior to the discovery of her remains, “We are confident, based on the circumstances, she was not a victim of foul play. There is no indication of this being an abduction or a homicide. There is also nothing to indicate it was a suicide either.”
Buschow also sheds light on Rivera’s son’s involvement in the since-concluded search for the star.
“Kids that age,” he explained to us, “they are going to be very matter of fact in providing information. And he was. He was able to provide information that was very helpful to investigators.”.
Days prior on July 6, Rivera reminded her 2 million Instagram followers that “tomorrow is not promised,” writing, “No matter the year, circumstance, or strife every day you’re alive is a blessing. Make the most of today and every day you are given.”
The actress became a household name thanks to her role as Santana Lopez on Glee, which she starred on from 2009 to 2015. In 2013, she released her debut single, “Sorry,” with then-fiancé Big Sean.
Rivera and the rapper announced their split in 2014. That same year, the star married actor Ryan Dorsey. They welcomed their son in Sept. 2015, but would eventually divorce after two years of marriage.
In the years that passed, Naya remained focused on motherhood and her career, including her latest role on the Starz show, Step Up.
During a 2019 interview with E! News, the actress predicted Josey could one day follow in her footsteps. “He’s theatrical in every way,” she shared. “He is definitely a little ham.”