UPDATE: July 15, 2020, 7:10 a.m. ET—Naya Rivera’s cause of death has been revealed by the Ventura County Medical Examiner.
“The circumstances and visual characteristics all indicated that the body was that of Naya Rivera and the identity has been confirmed by dental comparison,” the medical examiner said in a press release.
“The autopsy findings are consistent with a drowning, and the condition of the body is consistent with the time that she was submerged. No traumatic injuries or disease processes were identified at autopsy. There is no indication from the investigation or examination that drugs or alcohol played a role in [Rivera’s] death, but specimens will be submitted for toxicology testing,” the press release said.
Rivera’s family released this statement through her manager to Deadline:
“We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey, and our family over the past week. While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honor her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit. Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter, and sister.
“Thank you to the men and women of the Ventura, Tulare, and San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Departments for your commitment and unwavering effort to find Naya. We extend endless gratitude and ovation to the heroine who found her. Thank you to her friends, colleagues, and fans for your continuous support.
“Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time.”
UPDATE: July 13, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET—Naya Rivera’s body has been found five days after going missing at Lake Piru on July 8. She reportedly rented a pontoon boat with her four-year-old son, who was found alone on the boat hours later.
Earlier today (Monday), at 12:38 p.m. EST, the Ventura Co. Sheriff’s Office Twitter account announced that a body had been found at the lake, and they would be holding a news conference at 2 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET).
During the conference, which was held at Lake Piru, Sheriff William Ayub confirmed the body in question belonged to the former Glee star.
“Since last Wednesday we’ve been here at Lake Piru searching for Naya Rivera,” Ayub said. “Each day we’ve utilized dozens of personnel…. [Today] we recovered a body in the lake and based on the location, physical characteristics and clothing, and physical condition of the body and absence of other persons missing in the area, we are confident the body is that of Naya Rivera.”
Sheriff Ayub said Rivera’s body was found near the surface of the water where there is heavy brush and trees in the lake bed. He added, “It’s been an extremely difficult time for her family. Our hearts are with them and we share in their grief. We’ve been in direct contact with the family and kept them updated on our search efforts throughout. Our thoughts go out to Naya’s friends and fans who have been holding out hope.”
Sheriff Ayub also said there “was no indication of foul play, and no indication this was a suicide.” Rivera’s body is currently being taken to the Ventura County medical examiner’s office where an identification based on dental records and an autopsy will be performed.
Josey Dorsey, Rivera’s four-year-old son with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, said, per Sheriff Ayub, that they were swimming in the water on the afternoon of July 8. Sheriff Ayub said Josey told authorities that he saw his mother disappear into the water. He was later found on the pontoon boat with his life jacket on and wrapped in a towel. The sheriff also said Rivera “mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat” before she tragically drowned.
UPDATE: July 12, 2020, 3:45 p.m. ET—The police have searched for Naya Rivera in cabins and outbuildings surrounding Lake Piru but do not believe she ever came out of the water.
“In today’s search for Naya Rivera, cabins and outbuildings in the surrounding area will be checked once again, as well as the shoreline,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office shared on Twitter on July 12. “This has been part of the ongoing search effort since her disappearance on Wednesday afternoon. Boat crews continue to scan the lake.”
Sgt. Shannon King confirmed to People that the effort to locate Rivera in the lake continues. “They’re not occupied. Nothing came of it,” King told the publication, explaining that the larger focus of the search “was the shoreline.”
“They were just doing the shoreline to make sure nothing has changed. There were a lot of folks that were talking on social media about, ‘Oh, check the cabins. Maybe she’s there, maybe she’s hanging out,’” King said. “There’s no evidence to say she left the water. It appears to be 100% just a tragic drowning.”
Investigators will reportedly continue to search the area “at least through Tuesday.”
UPDATE: July 9, 2020, 3:22 p.m. ET—Naya Rivera is presumed dead, with local authorities shifting their efforts from rescue to recovery, according to the sheriff’s office of Ventura County, California.
“We’re presuming that an accident happened, and we’re presuming she drowned in the lake,” Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Dyer said at a news conference, CNN reports. “The goal is still to bring Miss Rivera home to her family.”
ORIGINAL STORY: July 9, 2020, 7:41 a.m. ET—In sad and troubling news, former Glee star Naya Rivera is currently missing in Southern California.
According to multiple news outlets, including CNN, the Ventura County sheriff’s office has been conducting a search (which will resume this morning) after Rivera apparently vanished from Lake Piru, where her four-year-old son was later found alone in a boat.
Per the local CBS outlet, Sheriff’s Captain Eric Buschow said in a news conference that Rivera rented a pontoon boat around 1 p.m. local time, and she and her son were spotted heading out onto the lake together. Then, around three hours later, another boater saw the boat drifting and found Rivera’s son sleeping in the boat alone and notified officials. At that point, CBSN Los Angeles reports, a search began, which included helicopters, drones, and divers.
The child, who is said to be unharmed, told police that he and his mother went swimming—but she never got back in the boat. CBSN noted it was not immediately clear how he got back into the boat. Buschow said the child was wearing a life vest and another adult-size vest was found in the vessel. As of Wednesday night (July 8), authorities were reportedly trying to reunite him with family members.
“There’s a lot of challenges in a reservoir this size, at times with visibility,” Buschow said. “I don’t have details yet as to the depth of the area where the boat was found or what conditions they’re encountering out there.”
Naya Rivera famously played the role of Santana Lopez—a cheerleader who ends up in the show choir—on the hit Fox show Glee from 2009 to 2015. On July 7 she posted a sweet photo of herself and her son, writing, “Just the two of us.”
This post will be updated as more details become available.
Originally Appeared on Glamour