Sadly, it appears that the authorities have turned their rescue mission into a recovery mission as the search continues for missing actress Naya Rivera, who is best known for playing the character of Santana on FOX’s “Glee”.
Rivera is now presumed dead after she disappeared at a lake in southern California after taking a boating and swimming trip with her four-year-old son.
According to the Ventura County sheriff’s office, “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.
Search and rescue efforts for the actress have now shifted to a recovery operation, Dyer said.
“The goal is still to bring Miss Rivera home to her family,” he said.
Rivera, who was just 33 years old, rented a pontoon boat with her young son at Lake Piru when she disappeared on Wednesday evening, July 8, 2020. The boat was located at the north end of Lake Piru by a rental employee after it failed to be returned by 4:00 pm PST.
Rivera’s son was found sleeping inside the boat, but she was nowhere to be found. Other items found on the boat included Rivera’s purse and identification and one life jacket, as her son was wearing the other life jacket. No other clues were discovered.
According to CNN, video from the dock shows Rivera and her son as the only two people getting on the boat, Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Donoghue said at a separate news conference.
Detectives have spoken to Rivera’s son and as a result of that conversation do not believe Rivera made it to shore, he said.
The boat was not anchored, and was not near the shore when found, the sheriff’s office said. The area in which it was found is approximately 30 feet deep.
The lake has very low visibility with numerous plants and trees in the search area, making it unsafe for divers and a more complicated search, according to Donoghue.
“If the body is entangled in something beneath the water, it may never come back up,” Donoghue said.
The investigation will continue throughout Thursday night and into Friday morning, as dive teams are being brought in from throughout the area to assist with the recovery mission.
Rivera played Santana Lopez on the Fox show for six years from 2009, and appeared in nearly every episode of the musical-comedy-drama. She was also on the CBS sitcom “The Royal Family” and in the comedy film “The Master of Disguise.”
Our hearts and prayers are with Naya Rivera’s family and friends during this difficult time!
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