UPDATE: A body found Monday in southern California’s Lake Piru is Glee actor Naya Rivera, Ventura County Sheriff’s officials confirmed.
A new clue turned up in the search for Glee star Naya Rivera over the weekend that may have helped the investigation. The 33-year-old disappeared after taking her 4-year-old son Josey on a boating trip in Lake Piru in California. On Monday, searchers reportedly recovered her body.
Robert Inglis of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team told Us Weekly that Rivera sent a photo of them to a relative shortly before she vanished. Josey was found on the lake 90 minutes to two hours after the photo was taken near a cove. He was alone on the boat and told authorities that he and his mom had gone swimming together, but that she never made it back to the boat. (She shares Josey with her ex Ryan Dorsey).
Search crews combed the area around the cove. “We did send our dive members to those two locations and searched those extensively,” he told the outlet.
He added that in many cases, there are witnesses “who see someone jumping off a boat so we know which area to search and we can find the body more quickly.”
There were no witnesses in this case. He added: “In this case, it really could be the whole lake. There are a lot of coves that have to be searched.”
Meanwhile, Inglis, also a diving expert, told Us Weekly what he believes happened: “The best thing that we can say that contributes to a lot of the drownings is when people go swimming and they are not wearing their life vests. And they jumped off the boat. It doesn’t take much to get exhausted if you’re not in shape. Winds do kick up at that lake, and the boats start to get away and you are trying to go after that boat … you could get a leg cramp. If you are wearing a life vest, you could rest and someone can go back and pick you up, or call for help or something like that.”
He added that “people are muscular” have a harder time floating. “They struggle because they are sinking. They can’t float. So depending on the body tone of a person, you could get that feeling that you are being sucked down because you really just can’t float.”
“If you’re not familiar with the boat and getting on and off the boat, you can get tired just climbing onto the boat. You can fall back in, people hit their heads, things like that,” he told Us. “There are some cases in lakes where one person is in the water, starts to drown, then someone else jumps in to try to save the other person. The person drowning is saved and gets back on the boat, but the other person who jumped in to save them didn’t make it back into the boat.”
At least eight people have drowned in the lake, the most recent being 2008.
In Rivera's 2016 Sorry Not Sorry, she called Josey her “greatest” success.