“Glee” star Naya Rivera is presumed dead a day after going missing at a lake in Southern California, authorities said Thursday.
Officials are now treating the search for the 33-year-old actress at Lake Piru as a recovery mission, Deputy Chris Dyer of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said during a press conference.
“We’re presuming that an accident happened and we’re presuming that she drowned in the lake,” Dyer said Thursday.
Police said they do not suspect foul play.
Authorities say Rivera’s 4-year-old son was alone Wednesday on a rented pontoon boat when found by an employee who had ventured out to look for them after the boat became overdue. Video evidence from the dock shows that Rivera and her son were the only two people to board the boat, the Sheriff’s Office said, and after talking to her son, they believe Rivera did not make it to shore, so the recovery effort is focused on the water.
More than 80 people were enlisted to help in the search Thursday, with boats, helicopters, ATV vehicles and officials on the ground involved. Specialized dive teams from multiple counties in California were also enlisted to take part.
“We’re going on the belief that she did go in the water and we have not been able to locate her,” Captain Eric Buschow of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office told reporters Wednesday. “So this may well be a case of drowning.”
Difficult conditions have hampered the recovery effort. The search was suspended on Wednesday night due to zero visibility, the Sheriff’s Office said, while divers have had less than one foot of visibility in the water in the daylight on Thursday.
Officials said the child was wearing a life vest, but do not believe Rivera was. An adult-sized vest was found aboard the boat, which was in water estimated to be 30 feet deep.
Rivera’s identification was also found on the boat, which had been rented several hours before authorities found the child.
Her son has been reunited with family members and is healthy and safe. Rivera had the 4-year-old with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, an actor.
Officials say Rivera had been to the lake before and was familiar with it. Lake Piru is about 55 miles northwest of Los Angeles’ downtown area.
Rivera played the cheerleader Santana Lopez on “Glee” for six seasons, beginning in 2009. She appeared on each of the musical TV series’ 113 episodes.
One of Rivera’s co-stars on the show, Harry Shum Jr., wrote in a tweet, “Praying.”
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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