Body of Naya Rivera Is Found at California Lake, Authorities Say


Investigators on Monday were “confident” they had found the body of Naya Rivera, a star in the series “Glee,” almost a week after she was reported missing at a lake in California, the authorities said.

Speaking at a news conference, Ventura County Sheriff William Ayub said Ms. Rivera’s body was found near the surface of the water in the northeastern portion of the lake. The depth of the water in that area is between 35 and 60 feet.

There were no signs of foul play, he said.

Sheriff Ayub said the body was identified as that of Ms. Rivera based on the location, physical characteristics, clothing and condition, “as well as the absence of any other persons reported missing in the area.” There was no life jacket on the body, he said.

The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy and make a positive identification of the body, Sheriff Ayub said.

In the days since Ms. Rivera, 33, disappeared on July 8 at Lake Piru, search teams from agencies throughout the state had scoured the lake, using helicopters, A.T.V.s, boats, drones, dogs and diving gear.

Ms. Rivera, a star in the series “Glee,” and her 4-year-old son were the only people on a pontoon she had rented at Lake Piru when they went out on the water last week, according to a security video released by the Sheriff’s Office. The video showed them arriving at the dock in a dark S.U.V., walking to the marina and then heading north on the boat on the lake.

When the 20-foot boat did not return on time on the afternoon of July 8, workers from the dock began searching for it, Sgt. Kevin Donoghue of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said on Thursday.

Another boater found the boy, alone and wearing a life jacket, asleep on the boat at 4 p.m. that day. A second life jacket was also found in the boat.

The boy told investigators that he and his mother had been swimming in the lake and that he got back in the boat but she did not, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Sergeant Donoghue said the next day that the boat was found in the northern part of the lake, in an area where the water is about 30 feet deep. Search efforts had been hampered by limited water visibility of less than a foot during the day, and trees and debris under the surface.

The search-and-rescue mission shifted into a search-and-recovery effort as the day wore on. The authorities said they believed Ms. Rivera had accidentally drowned.

The authorities said that Ms. Rivera had previous experience boating on the lake, a reservoir with campground in Los Padres National Forest, about 55 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The recreational area, which reopened on July 1 with limited activities because of the coronavirus, features boat rentals, kayaking and paddle boarding. It was closed during the search.

On Monday, Sheriff Ayub said Ms. Rivera’s family had expressed gratitude for everyone who assisted in the efforts to find the actress. He also thanked the many agencies that had helped in the search.

Ms. Rivera made her acting debut as a 4-year-old on the 1991 CBS sitcom “The Royal Family.”

She also had guest appearances on other shows including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Family Matters.” But Ms. Rivera is probably best known for her role as a sharp-tongued singing cheerleader, Santana Lopez, on “Glee,” which ran on Fox from 2009 to 2015. The campy show followed the friendships, relationships and everyday dramas of a high school glee club, and Ms. Rivera appeared in 116 episodes.

She married the actor Ryan Dorsey in 2014 and gave birth to their son, Josey Hollis, in 2015. The couple split in 2018.

The day before her disappearance, she shared a photo with her son with the caption “just the two of us.”

The cast of “Glee” has dealt with its share of tragedy. Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson, was found dead in a hotel room in 2013 from a drug overdose when he was 31. Mark Salling, who played Noah Puckerman, was 35 when he died in what appeared to be a suicide in 2018, weeks after he pleaded guilty to federal charges of being in possession of child pornography.

Jacey Fortin and Aimee Ortiz contributed reporting.

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