The body of actress Naya Rivera was recovered in the Southern California lake where she disappeared nearly a week ago, the Ventura County Sheriff confirmed Monday. She was 33.
Officials announced Monday morning that divers had found a body but did not confirm until later in the day that it was that of former Glee star Rivera, who went missing Wednesday during a boating trip with her young son at Lake Piru north of Los Angeles.
Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said officials were “confident” that it was Rivera who was found, based on the part of the lake in which the body was recovered, the state of the remains and visual clues. They said the identity of the deceased would be conclusively confirmed via dental records during an autopsy to follow.
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“We are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera,” Ayub said at a news conference Monday. “It has been an extremely difficult time for her family throughout this ordeal. … Our hearts are with them, and we share in their grief for Naya’s loss.”
Ayub said there was no indication of foul play or that Rivera’s death was a suicide.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Department officials launched an extensive search of Lake Piru after the Rivera’s 4-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, was found alone on a boat. The search resumed at first light on Thursday, but within hours, the search turned into a recovery operation and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office called in dive teams to assist in locating the body.
According to reports, Rivera and her son rented a boat around 1 p.m. Wednesday and around three hours later, another boater found the child by himself. The boy is reported to have told investigators that they were swimming, but Rivera never returned to the boat.
Rivera was an American singer and actress who started her screen career as child, appearing in commercials before landing a role in CBS comedy The Royal Family in 1991, for which she received a Young Artist Award nomination. She made appearances in a number of high-profile shows at a young age, including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Baywatch.
Her breakthrough came in 2009 when she was cast as Santana Lopez in Fox’s hit musical drama Glee. Rivera appeared in more than 100 episodes of the show, winning two American Latino Media Arts Awards and a People’s Choice Award.
Since Glee ended in 2015, she has featured in Lifetime’s Devious Maids and starred alongside Charlie Sheen in 2017 feature Mad Families for streamer Crackle. Most recently, Rivera starred in Step Up: High Water, which aired for two seasons on YouTube and was picked up for a third season by Starz.
The actress penned a memoir called Sorry, Not Sorry in 2016, which candidly recounted her life and career.
“No matter the year, circumstance, or strifes everyday you’re alive is a blessing. Make the most of today and every day you are given. tomorrow is not promised,” Rivera wrote in one of her final Instagram posts just five days before her death.
Rivera was married to Bosch and Yellowstone actor Ryan Dorsey. The pair divorced in 2018. Josey Hollis Dorsey is their only child.
Her final Instagram post was a photo of Josey and herself.
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