Police Identify Body As Missing Glee Star Naya Rivera
A body found at Lake Piru in southern California has been identified as Glee star Naya Rivera, police have confirmed.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced the discovery of a body on social media yesterday morning, July 13, telling their followers the recovery was ‘in progress’.
Sheriff Bill Ayub then confirmed the body was that of Rivera at a news conference on the shore of the lake, saying there was no indication of foul play or that she took her own life.
Rivera, the Grammy-nominated singer and actor best known for her role as Santana Lopez on Glee, went missing on Wednesday, July 8, after renting out a boat with her four-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey. Police became aware of her disappearance after a boater found Josey alone on the water.
In subsequent days, authorities carried out a thorough search-and-rescue operation on the lake with helicopters, drones and dive teams. Divers and teams using sonar equipment found the body on Monday, July 13.
Prior to that, Josey had told detectives he and his mum went swimming and she helped him get back in the boat, but saw Rivera disappear under the surface of the water. ‘His mum never made it out of the water’, sheriff’s sergeant Kevin Donoghue said, as Sky News reports.
In yesterday’s news conference, Sheriff Ayub said their theory is that the boat drifted as they swam in the water, and Rivera ‘mustered enough energy to get her son on board, but not enough to save herself’.
Soon after news of her death broke, tributes began pouring in for Rivera from both fans and from people in the industry, including her former Glee co-stars.
Chris Colfer, who starred alongside Rivera as Kurt Hummel, paid tribute to his friend on Instagram, writing: ‘She spoke truth to power with poise and fearlessness. She could turn a bad day into a great day with a single remark.’
‘She inspired and uplifted people without even trying,’ he continued. ‘Being close to her was both a badge of honour and a suit of armour. Naya was truly one of a kind, and she always will be.’
Jane Lynch, who played cheer coach Sue Sylvester on the Fox musical dramedy, tweeted: ‘Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.’
Amber Riley, who played Mercedes Jones on the show, shared a video of Rivera and her son on Instagram, writing: ‘My favourite duet partner. I love you. I miss you. I don’t have words right now, just lots of feelings. Rest In Peace Angel.’
Kevin McHale, who played Artie Abrams on the series, shared a black and white photo of himself embracing Rivera alongside a Twitter thread talking about their friendship. ‘My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you,’ he wrote.
He ended the thread by saying:
For having such tiny body, Naya had such a gigantic presence, a void that will now be felt by all of us – those of us who knew her personally and the millions of you who loved her through your TVs. I love you, Bee.
Jenna Ushkowitz, who played Tina Cohen-Chang in Glee, also shared a photo of herself and Rivera embracing, describing the late actor as a ‘force’ and adding: ‘Everyone who got to be around you knew it and felt the light and joy you exuded when you walked into a room.’
You shined on stage and screen and radiated with love behind closed doors. I was lucky enough to share so many laughs, martinis and secrets with you. I can not believe I took for granted that you’d always be here.
Our friendship went in waves as life happens and we grow, so I will not look back and regret but know I love you and promise to help the legacy of your talent, humour, light and loyalty live on.
You are so loved. You deserved the world and we will make sure Josey and your family feel that everyday. I miss you already.
Our thoughts are with Naya’s loved ones at this difficult time. Rest in peace, Naya.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
CreditsVentura Co. Sheriff/Twitter and 1 other
Ventura Co. Sheriff/Twitter