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Sheriff's office confirms body found in California lake is 'Glee' star Naya Rivera

Crews find body while searching California lake for missing 'Glee' star Naya Rivera
Posted at 10:44 AM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 13:04:20-04

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. -- The Ventura County Sheriff's Office confirmed Monday afternoon that a body found Monday in a Southern California lake is that of missing actress Naya Rivera, but an official identification will be made following an autopsy and review of dental records.

On Monday morning, the sheriff's office said on Twitter that an unidentified body had been found at Lake Piru. Sheriff Bill Ayub said that due to the location in which the body was found, the physical characteristics and condition of the body, the agency is "confident" that the body is that of Rivera.

The body will be taken to the Ventura County's Medical Examiner's Office, where an official identification will occur.

Officials do not suspect foul play and have called the incident a "tragic accident."

Rivera, 33, went missing while boating with her 4-year-old son at the lake. The sheriff's office says Rivera rented a boat at the lake Wednesday afternoon and went for an excursion with her son.

Boaters told authorities that they later found Rivera's boat drifting in the northern portion of the lake with her son sleeping onboard.

Officials believe that Rivera went swimming prior to her disappearance. The body recovered Monday was not wearing a life jacket, an adult life jacket was found in the boat along with Rivera's son.

Ayub said that he believes Rivera and her son were swimming in the lake when Rivera started to tire. He says he believes she was able to lift her son back into the boat but did not have enough energy to climb back in herself.

Since her disappearance, law enforcement had been combing the lake and searching the area for Rivera using helicopters, boat crews, divers, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

"Investigators believe Rivera drowned in what appears to be a tragic accident," the office wrote in a press release, in which officers announced the search for the actress had turned into a recovery mission.

Rivera played Santana Lopez on Fox's musical series "Glee," which ran from 2009 to 2015. Most recently, she appeared on YouTube Premium's "Step Up" series.