Naya Rivera: tributes paid to the Glee star after police recover her body from Lake Piru

It has been confirmed that the body recovered from Lake Piru has been identified as missing Glee star Naya Rivera

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 4:05 pm
Naya Rivera was announced missing after heading out to Lake Piru with her son (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
Naya Rivera was announced missing after heading out to Lake Piru with her son (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Glee star Naya Rivera had been announced as missing after renting a boat at a lake in California with her son on Wednesday 8 July.

Authorities have confirmed that a body that was recovered from Lake Piru was identified as Naya Rivera.

Tributes from her fellow Glee cast mates, celebrities and fans have poured in after the news broke.

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What happened to Naya Rivera?

KNBC reported late on Wednesday that the 33-year-old actress had rented a pontoon boat at the Lake Piru reservoir on Wednesday, and that her young son was found alone on the boat wearing a life jacket.

Authorities responded to reports about a young child alone on a boat at around 4:48pm on Wednesday 8 July, which is how the boat was found.

Rivera’s identification was found on the boat with her four year old son, who was found unharmed.

Sheriff officials launched a boat and helicopter search for Rivera on Wednesday afternoon, but the search was then suspended by night time. The search has continued into Thursday.

Before it was revealed that it was Rivera that was missing, the Ventura Co. Sheriff Twitter account wrote: “Happening now: Search for possible drowning victim at Lake Piru. @VCAirUnit @fillmoresheriff on scene. SAR Dive Team and PIO on the way.”

After the search resumed on Thursday, authorities revealed that they are working under the assumption that the star had drowned in the lake.

Chris Dyer from the Ventura County Sheriff’s said: “We’re presuming that an accident happened and we’re presuming that she drowned in the lake.”

What have authorities said?

At a news conference at Lake Piru on Monday 13 July, Sheriff Bill Ayub said that there was “no indication of foul play and no indication this was a suicide”.

The Sheriff said: “We know from speaking with her son, that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point during their journey.

"It was during that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him on to the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.”

He explained: “The idea perhaps being that the boat started drifted, it was unanchored, and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back into the boat, but not enough to save herself.”

An autopsy of the body is still set to take place.

The discovery came exactly seven years after her fellow Glee co-star, Cory Monteith, was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room after overdosing on heroin and alcohol.

Tributes to Naya Rivera

After news broke that the actor had been found dead, tributes to Naya Rivera have come from her fellow Glee castmates, as well as other celebrities and fans alike.

Many of her former castmates gathered at the bank of Lake Piru, near Los Angeles, to pay their respects.

Tributes also rolled in on social media.

Jane Lynch wrote on Twitter: “Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.”

Harry Shum Jr posted a tribute to Instagram, writing: “We will make sure to keep your legacy and spirit alive so Josey will grow up to know the incredible woman you were. Love you, Naya. You are already missed. Eternally.”

Chris Colfer posted a picture of himself and Naya to Instagram, writing in the caption: “Naya was truly one of a kind, and she always will be. Sending all my love to her wonderful family and her beautiful son.”

Darren Criss wrote: “I was constantly moved by the degree to which she took care of her family, and how she looked out for her friends. She showed up for me on numerous occasions where she didn’t have to, and I was always so grateful for her friendship then, as I certainly am now.”

LGBT+ organisation GLAAD wrote: “Naya Rivera will be missed so much by so many. She was a friend of GLAAD and even hosted the GLAAD Media Awards twice. She was kind, gracious, and personally used her platforms and voice to tell LGBTQ youth that they are loved. Our hearts are with her loved ones.”

Who is Naya Rivera?

Rivera is best known for her role as cheerleader Santana Lopez in Ryan Murphy's musical comedy TV series Glee.

Throughout her time on Glee, Rivera won a number of awards for her performance, including an ALMA Award for Favourite TV Actress in a leading role in a comedy, and a Gold Derby award for comedy supporting actress.

She also appeared in various TV shows, such as Devious Maids and The Bernie Mac Show.

Her most recent appearances were in the YouTube Premium show Step Up: High Water, a Step Up spin off, as Collette Jones.

In 2016, Rivera released a memoir titled Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up.

She was married to fellow actor Ryan Dorsey, the father of Rivera’s son, between 2014 and 2018.