Naya Rivera's body 'may not come back up' as police search in lakeJuly 10, 2020
Naya Rivera’s body may not be found in Lake Piru, police have said.
The 33-year-old actress is missing and presumed dead after she did not return to a boat on the Californian lake following a swim with her son.
A search operation resumed on Thursday after the Glee star went missing on Wednesday, with police confirming it is now a search and recovery operation.
However, the search in the northern half of Lake Piru is ‘complicated’ due to the ‘terrible’ visibility in the water.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt Kevin Donoghue said at a press conference: ‘There’s a lot of trees and plants and such that are under the water that can cause entanglement. Makes it unsafe for divers and a complicated search.
‘It can be two, three days to a week, I don’t know. It goes back to if there’s something… if the body is entangled in some way, it may not come back up. You can’t predict it.’
He continued: ‘We’re putting our best foot forward to try and locate her. We’re using all the assets that are available to us. We’re using technology like sonar. We have experts who have dove this lake who know it inside and out, where debris pockets might be, we’re relying on their expertise to help us in that endeavour.
‘We’re going to do everything we can to find her.
‘They may get to a point in time where [the search team has] expelled every resource, they’ve searched every area, the probability of detection, of finding someone in a particular area, they’ve exhausted… when we get to that point, that’s when they’ll probably have to suspend the search. But we’re not there yet.’
Donoghue added that the search team involved ‘helicopters, half a dozen boats, personal watercraft and multiple dive teams’.
Security footage from the dock shows Rivera and her son Josey arriving at the lake’s near empty parking lot around 1pm on Wednesday 8 July, before boarding a pontoon boat and launching westward across the lake.
At 4.40pm, a 911 call reported that a ‘little girl’ had been found alone on a boat, with the child’s mother ‘nowhere to be found’.
Josey – who has long hair and was initially misidentified as a girl – told authorities that Naya did not return to the boat after they swam together in the lake.
A life jacket was still on the boat when Josey was discovered; police are unsure if this was an extra life jacket or not, but Donoghue said: ‘But seemingly, if she was somehow incapacitated and she had a life jacket, we would find her floating. Clearly, she is not.’
He said that emergency responders have searched the shoreline ‘for any clues whatsoever, any personal items, any footprints, anything that would indicate that she made it out of the water and because of the absence of those clues, that is why the focus of the search right now is in the water’.
‘She could have suffered a medical episode. We just don’t know. We won’t know until we find her.’
It is unknown for how long Josey, who was sleeping when he was discovered by staff from the rental stand at 4.30pm, was alone.
The boat had been due to be returned at 4pm after a three hour rental, so when that deadline passed, staff went looking for the vessel.
The boat was found between one and a half to two miles away from where Rivera rented it.
The search is expected to continue today.
Rivera is best known for playing cheerleader Santana Lopez on Glee between 2009 and 2015, and is currently gearing up for the third series of the Step Up spin-off.
Josey is her son with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, with whom she shares joint custody of their child.
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