Search and recovery effort underway at Lake Piru for missing ‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera

February 07 2021 03:30 pm

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. (KTLA) — A search and recovery effort is underway in Ventura County Thursday for missing actress Naya Rivera, who disappeared during a boat trip with her son on Lake Piru a day earlier.

Rivera, 33, was last seen on a pontoon boat she rented from a lake employee Wednesday afternoon, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chris Dyer said during a news conference Thursday morning.

A search began for Rivera when she was late in returning the boat. It was eventually found drifting on the northern end of the lake about 6 p.m., with Rivera’s 4-year-old son asleep onboard. The boat had left the dock about three hours earlier, officials said Wednesday.

The boy was wearing a life jacket when he was found, and another adult life vest was found on the boat.

The child is “healthy and fine,” and is now with family members, Dyer said.

The boy told investigators he went swimming with his mom while they were out on the lake but she never got back on the boat.

Rescue divers were called to search for Rivera but efforts were called off when it got dark Wednesday night.

Investigators have found nothing suspicious at this point and are viewing the incident as a tragic accident, Dyer said. Sheriff’s officials said Wednesday that Rivera is presumed dead.

Divers returned to the water early Thursday morning, but the mode was changed to a search and recovery effort a short time later.

Changing the mode does not change the efforts of the search crews, Dyer said. “The goal is still to bring miss Rivera home to her family so they can have some closure,” he said.

The actress is best known for her role on the TV show “Glee,” where she played cheerleader Santana Lopez. Rivera also had roles on “The Bernie Mac Show” and “Devious Maids.”

A reservoir about 40 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles at the edge of Los Padres National Forest, Lake Piru is closed amid the search for Rivera, the Sheriff’s Office tweeted.

The Sheriff’s Office later tweeted that a specialized dive team from Tulare County has joined other teams from Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo counties in the search for Rivera.

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