Search Continues for Actress Naya Rivera, Glee Castmates Urge Fans to Show ‘Respect’

The search for missing actress Naya Rivera is still unsuccessful five days after her disappearance at notoriously volatile Lake Piru. Authorities believe that Rivera drowned in a tragic accident and have been conducting a recovery operation for her remains.  

Rivera rented a pontoon boat at the Ventura County lake on Wednesday afternoon with her four-year-old son, Josey. After missing the pontoon’s return time, lake staff found the boat drifting with Josey sleeping alone on board. 

The authorities were notified, and a search and rescue mission launched immediately. Over eighty first responders, including sheriff’s personnel, boat crews, specialized divers, and helicopters scoured the lake and shoreline. 

In a press conference, Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Donoghue said that a life jacket and the former Glee actress’s “personal belongings were on the boat.” 

Rivera’s son told investigators that he had been swimming in the lake with his mother and she did not get back on the pontoon with him. Josey was reunited safely with his father, Rivera’s ex-husband, actor Ryan Dorsey.   

Based on the child’s account, a lack of physical clues on the shore, and no indication of foul play, authorities chose to focus their search in the water. 

 

Rescuers scoured the four-mile lake and surrounding shoreline until 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, when visibility in the water reduced to zero and conditions were unsafe for divers.  

Exploration continued again at daylight, and this time, rescuers were aided by sonar equipment, search dogs, and drones, but low water visibility impeded their efforts. Lake Piru is full of natural debris that is easy to get tangled in and well known for dangerous rip currents that prove difficult for even the most experienced swimmers.

After a day without success, authorities announced that the nature of the operation had changed from rescue to recovery, as the single mother is presumed to be dead.  

Ex-husband Dorsey and Riviera’s grieving family gathered on the shore Saturday. They made their way into the lake together, where her father seemingly prayed while knee deep in the water. Dorsey was photographed sitting near the waterline, visibly devastated.  

Rivera’s friends and fans have also been distressed by her disappearance and are eager for a resolution.  On Sunday, authorities searched cabins near the lake in response to speculation on social media that they might find Rivera inside one. Sgt. Shannon King told People that nothing came of their investigation. 

Glee co-star Heather Morris, pleaded with authorities to allow her and a group of friends to join the mission at the lake.   

 

Lake Piru has been closed to the public since search efforts began on Wednesday, and the  Ventura County Sheriff cautioned eager to help fans with the warning, “We don’t want to have to rescue you.”   

Distraught supporters were also quick to go after members of The New Directions that have stayed mum throughout Rivera’s disappearance. Glee co-star Kevin McHale urged sympathizers to “refrain from judging those who don’t show their pain on social media.” While Amber Riley clapped back that, “No one owes anyone online a performance of grief.”  

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