‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera presumed dead after search at California lake comes up empty

Rivera was reported to have gone swimming in the lake but never made it back to the shore. — Picture via Instagram/nayarivera
Rivera was reported to have gone swimming in the lake but never made it back to the shore. — Picture via Instagram/nayarivera

PETALING JAYA, July 10 — Glee actress Naya Rivera has been presumed dead by the authorities after she went missing at a lake in Southern California.

CNN reported that search and rescue efforts that began on Wednesday evening have now changed to a recovery operation.

“We're presuming that an accident happened and we're presuming she drowned in the lake.

“The goal is still to bring Miss Rivera home to her family,” said Ventura County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chris Dyer.

Rivera, 33, had visited Lake Piru on Wednesday afternoon with her four-year-old son and hired a pontoon boat.

An employee from the rental company went out searching for them when the boat was overdue for return at 4pm and found Rivera’s son alone on the vessel at the northern end of the lake.

Ventura County Sheriff Sergeant Kevin Donoghue said CCTV from the dock shows that Rivera and her child were the only two people who got on the boat, while another spokesman Captain Eric Buschow said the duo had gone swimming but Rivera never made it back onto the shore.

Specialised dive teams, helicopters, boats, personal watercraft, and sonar technology are being used in the recovery operations focused on the northern end of the lake where the boat was found.

“We don't think it would have travelled the whole distance of the lake.

“I think it's too early to say what happened here. We're still investigating and just still trying to find out what happened,” said Donoghue.

Rivera is best known for her breakout role on Glee, where she played popular cheerleader Santana Lopez and appeared on almost every episode for the show’s six seasons from 2009 to 2015.

She received numerous award nominations and accolades along with her fellow cast members, including the award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series at the Screen Actors Guild in 2010.

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