What's Known About Naya Rivera's Disappearance So Far

Fans of Glee actress Naya Rivera awoke to shocking news last week. The mom of one disappeared Wednesday while boating with her 4-year-old son Josey Dorsey. The duo had rented a pontoon boat for what was presumably meant to be a day of fun on Lake Piru in Ventura County, California (via People). But when Rivera failed to return the boat at the appointed time, staff went looking for Rivera and Josey. Unthinkably, they only found a sleeping Josey — wearing a life jacket — with his famous mom missing. 

Tragically, USA Today reported the star, who played Santana Lopez on the popular Fox show for six seasons, was presumed dead. A search to find Rivera quickly became a recovery mission. People soberingly reported that dive teams were involved as a part of this effort. The lake was closed as a team of 80 people worked to find out what happened to Rivera.

What could have happened to the star?

Sources have been reporting no foul play is suspected in Rivera's disappearance. There is also no reason to believe the 33-year-old actress took her own life. It's believed the star suffered some sort of tragic mishap. "This is considered to be a horrible accident," Ventura County Sheriff's Department officials told local news station KNBC. According to Ventura County Sheriff's Office Capt. Eric Buschow, Josey remembers that he and his mom were swimming in the lake. He got back in the boat, but Rivera did not (via USA Today).

It's also been reported that drownings have occurred at this very lake in the past. "When the lake is higher and it's hotter at the lake, drownings do happen," Deputy Chris Dyer said. According to Page Six, the 1,200-acre reservoir, which is about 56 miles from Los Angeles, is known for chilly water temperatures that can overwhelm swimmers, and winds strong enough to tip over a small craft. The Los Angeles Times reports that seven people have perished in Lake Piru since 1994.

Rivera and her son are very close

What is known is that Rivera had visited the lake previously — although how strong of a swimmer she is remains unclear. It is clear she has been a devoted mother who loves her son more than anything. Just a day ago, Rivera shared a sweet photo of herself with her son on Instagram, captioned, "just the two of us." In 2016, the single mom (she divorced Josey's dad Ryan Dorsey in 2018) said this about her little guy: "I'm a mom now, and what I love more than acting is being Josey's mom. So, I want to be here for him. And I don't want to miss anything. I'm going to navigate the right way to do that."

After Josey's birth, Rivera also said, "I hope to instill good morals and values in him. I want to teach him to be confident but kind, strong but not proud, and to always be in love with life" (via People).

Chillingly, the star also shared this now-cryptic post on social media less than a week before her shocking disappearance: "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."

Fans and friends prayed for her safe return

Reportedly conditions had been very challenging for divers — they had less than a foot of visibility, even in the daylight. Depths range from a few feet, to up to 50 feet, with debris like trees making search efforts all the more difficult. What's more is that the search efforts had to be suspended at nightfall.

For now, Josey is reportedly with family. A source told People that those closest to Rivera are in disbelief that this is even happening. Even as news outlets reported that Rivera was presumed to have drowned, fans and stars alike were holding out hope that the star would be found alive. Glee costar Heather Morris shared this plea on social media: "We need all the prayers we can get to bring our Naya back home to us. We need your love and light" (via CBS News). Meanwhile, Glee guest star Demi Lovato said, "Please pray for @nayarivera to be found safe and sound."

Naya Rivera dead at 33 years old

It was announced Monday, July 13, that a body has been found at the lake where Rivera disappeared. The Ventura County Sheriff's Department has since confirmed that the body recovered was that of Naya Rivera, as reported by People. "We are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera," Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said at a news conference. "It has been an extremely difficult time for her family throughout this ordeal ... our hearts are with them and we share in their grief for Naya's loss." It's definitely a heartbreaking end to a story that has captivated the nation all week. 

Today, fans were quick to point out on Twitter that this marks the seventh anniversary of the day Rivera's Glee cast mate Cory Monteith passed away. Even though this is a chilling coincidence, clearly the focus is on sending the star's family vibes of love and support during this impossibly-difficult time.