Unfortunately, a terrifying search has come to a tragic end.
According to CNN, a body found in the northeast area of Lake Piru has been identified as Naya Rivera. Law enforcement says her body was recovered by search and rescue crews on Monday morning after she was reported missing for five days.
“We are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera,” Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub explained, adding “there is no indication of foul play or that this was a suicide.” Ayub said the sheriff’s department has been in “direct contact” with Rivera’s family and the body is being taken to Ventura County Coroner’s Office so it can be identified through dental records.
Last Wednesday, the “Glee” actress and her 4-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, were swimming in Lake Piru in California. However, when Josey got back to the boat and when authorities arrived for a check, he told them that he didn’t know what happened to his mom.
Authorities initially received pushback from social media with people accusing law enforcement of not doing enough to search for Rivera, a Black woman. On Monday at 2 p.m. PST, the Ventura County Police held a press conference where Ayub identified the body found as Rivera’s.
Rivera first gained fame as a child actress and model, who made appearances in numerous national T.V. commercials. At just 4 years old she landed the role of Hillary Winston on the sitcom “The Royal Family” starring Redd Foxx and Della Reese. She also made appearances in other ’90s sitcoms such as “Family Matters” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
In 2009, Rivera had her big break when she was casted as Santana Lopez on the FOX series “Glee”. As a performer and singer, she signed to Columbia Records in 2011. That same year, she was nominated for a Grammy award along with her “Glee” cast mates for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for “Don’t Stop Believin.”
She released her single “Sorry” with rapper Big Sean in 2013. According to TMZ, the two dated and were briefly engaged in 2013 before breaking up in 2014.
Rivera went on to date Josey’s father, actor Ryan Dorsey, and she married him in Cabo San Lucas in July 2014. The two were divorced in 2018 and they shared custody of Josey.
Rivera also had a relationship with fellow child star Tahj Mowry, of “Smart Guy” fame. He wrote a heartfelt message to Rivera on Instagram a few days before she was found. “We grew up together. We became adults together. We experienced so many firsts together,” Mowry wrote. “You were my first experience with everything; love, intimacy, heartbreak. We broke each others hearts and then mended them back together…more than once. I will never not think of you.”
Rivera went on to have roles on the big screen, making her debut in the 2014 horror movie “At the Devil’s Door”. She also had a role in the Lifetime movie “Devious Maids.”
River died at 33 years old and she’s survived by her son.