Naya Rivera was confirmed dead by Ventura County Sheriff’s Department after her body was recovered at Lake Piru on Monday, July 13. The Glee star was first reported missing five days ago after going on a boating trip with her 4-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, whom she shares with ex Ryan Dorsey. Rivera was 33 years old.
“Based on the location where the body was found, physical characteristics of the body, clothing found on the body and the physical condition of the body, as well as the absence of any other persons reported missing in the area, we are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera,” Sheriff Ayub from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed during a press conference. There was no indication of foul play and no indication that this was a suicide. Rivera was found in a north-eastern portion of the lake near the surface of the water. The depth of the water in that area ranges from 35 to 60 feet deep.
Her body was taken to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office where an autopsy will be performed and a positive identification will be made. Officials speculate since there are a lot of currents in the lake, “the boat started drifting, it was unanchored, and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.”
Rivera went missing on July 8 after renting a pontoon boat for her and her son. Josey was found hours later, alone but safe, on the boat according to a 911 call that was later released. “Happening now: Search for possible drowning victim at Lake Piru,” tweeted the department, also confirming the Ventura County Air Unit, Fillmore Sheriff’s department and SAR Dive Team were searching for the victim. Four hours later, they confirmed Rivera was the missing person, and announced they were suspending their search and rescue mission until “first light” on July 9.
The following day, the police department tweeted the search for Rivera was changed to a “recovery effort” because “there is a high likelihood that the singer drowned,” Captain Eric Buschow told In Touch. Later that day, the 911 call reporting Rivera missing was released to the public.
On Monday, July 13, the Ventura Sheriff’s department tweeted, “Happening now: A body has been found at Lake Piru this morning. The recovery is in progress. A news conference will take place at 2 p.m. at the lake.”
Following Rivera’s disappearance, her family is “completely devastated,” a source exclusively told In Touch. “Her family feels like they’re living in a bad dream, they’re all still in disbelief.”
Just days before her death, Rivera shared a message of hope and positivity on Instagram. “No matter the year, circumstance, or strifes, every day you’re alive is a blessing,” she wrote beside a glowing selfie on the social media site. “Make the most of today and every day you are given. Tomorrow is not promised” on Instagram.
Rivera got her start in Hollywood as a child actress in projects including The Royal Family, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters and The Sinbad Show. She was a series regular on The Bernie Mac Show as Bernie’s niece Vanessa’s friend. Of course, her most famous role was that of Santana Lopez on Glee, which she portrayed during the entirety of the show, from its premiere in 2009 until its end in 2015. Her most recent project was Step Up: High Water, in which she played Collette Jones. The show began airing in 2018 and seems to have filmed episodes through 2021, according to IMDB.