Authorities are desperately searching a lake north of Los Angeles for former ‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera. She rented a boat on July 8, and hours later, only her four-year-old son was found in the vessel.
(UPDATE 7/9/2020 AT 6:36 P.M. ET): The search for Naya Rivera in California’s Lake Piru has turned into a “recovery mission as of Thursday morning,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office informed HollywoodLife on July 9. About 100 personnel participated during Thursday’s search mission that involved divers and sonar equipment, but the sheriff’s office called the recovery operation a “very slow process.” Divers faced “less than one foot of visibility in the water in daylight.”
(UPDATE 7/9/2020 AT 12:00 P.M. ET): Authorities confirmed on the morning of July 9 that Naya Rivera is presumed to have drowned in Lake Piru. Officials also revealed that the actress’s son is “healthy and with family” after being at the lake with his mom when she went missing. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is calling Naya’s presumed drowning a “tragic accident.”
ORIGINAL: This is just devastating news. Rescuers in Ventura County, CA are searching for former Glee star Naya Rivera after she rented a pontoon boat around one p.m. on July 8 to take out on Lake Piru, northwest of Los Angeles. She was accompanied by her four-year-old son Josey Hollis Dorsey. “According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, Rivera rented the boat at about 1 p.m. About three hours later, another boater found the child in the boat by himself,” CBS2 News Los Angeles confirmed.
Thankfully Josey was found unharmed. The boy “told investigators that he and his mother were swimming, but his mother never got back into the boat,” CBS Los Angeles also reported. Helicopters, drones and dive teams soon searched the lake for Naya. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department has also confirmed that they’ve been searching Lake Piru for Naya, but announced that their search and rescue operation will continue at “first light” on July 8. Earlier Wednesday night, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department had tweeted that it’s looking for a “possible drowning victim at Lake Piru.”
— Ventura Co. Sheriff (@VENTURASHERIFF) July 9, 2020
Just one day ago on July 7, the 33-year-old shared a photo cuddling up to her son sweetly to her Instagram and wrote in the caption, “Just the two of us.” And on July 2, she shared another photo of herself with a caption that is now circulating Twitter: “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.”
Josey is Naya’s only child, and came from her marriage to fellow actor Ryan Dorsey. The pair wed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on July 19, 2014, just three months after Naya and fiance Big Sean split in Apr. 2014. The couple welcomed Josey on September 17, 2015. The singer/actress split from Ryan several times, and they finally divorced in June 2018. HollywoodLife has reached out to Ryan’s rep for comment.
Naya and Ryan’s cute youngster makes occasional appearances on Naya’s Instagram account. On his fourth birthday, Naya shared a touching photo hugging her precious son and wrote in the caption, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be. Happy birthday Josey! Love Mommy.”
It didn’t take long for Twitter to react to the terrifying news of Naya’s disappearance. One of these concerned messages came from Sister, Sister star Jackée Harry, who shared a clip of Naya as a child starring on the early ’90s sitcom The Royal Family. “Prayers up for the lovely Naya Rivera. We starred alongside one another in her first very television series, The Royal Family, and I’ve watched her career blossom ever since. Please God, don’t cut this life short,” the actress tweeted on Wednesday night. T.I.’s 19-year-old daughter, Deyjah Harris, also reacted to the news on Twitter: “i really hope naya rivera is okay……. i am sad now to hear she’s currently missing ): i’m praying for her and her family + their loved ones as well. 2020 is the WORST YEAR EVER! we love you naya and we want you to be safe and okay!!!”
Meanwhile, others reacted with anger upon learning that Naya’s search won’t be resumed until Thursday morning. “Let[‘s] contact them and demand they resume searching for our girl Naya Rivera !!!! cause how are you gonna wait till tomorrow???? So much can happen within those hours,” one such person tweeted, and shared a screenshot of the contact page for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
Naya famously played cheerleader Santana Lopez throughout Glee’s entire run between 2009-2015. HollywoodLife has also reached out to her former co-stars on the Fox show in the wake of this terrifying announcement. The show, which revolved around a high school glee club and included musical numbers in each episode, had recently made headlines due to drama surrounding accusations about the behavior of its lead star, Lea Michele.
More than a decade ago, a nine-year-old girl drowned in the same lake. Her family filed a claim to start a $12 million lawsuit against the United Water Conservation District in 2009, according to the Ventura County Star.