Naya Rivera Presumed Dead In Apparent Drowning Accident In California, Reports Say

Naya Rivera poses at an event.
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Glee star Naya Rivera is missing and presumed dead after her young son was reportedly found alone on a boat on a lake in California, multiple reports say.

As KIRO 7 reported, the 33-year-old actress had rented a boat on Lake Piru in Ventura County on Wednesday afternoon and intended to go swimming with her 4-year-old son. The boy was found later on the boat alone, wearing a life vest, but Rivera was nowhere to be found.

Staffers with the boat rental company notified authorities when they saw the boy by himself, leading to a police response and search for Rivera. As the report noted, deputies suspended the search late on Wednesday. Deputies believe that Rivera may have drowned and said that she is presumed dead.

Police said the child was found sleeping on the boat, adding that he told the police who responded his mother was unable to return to the boat while swimming. As CBS Los Angeles reported, police moved quickly to attempt to find Rivera.

“The boaters notified officials who immediately began a search for Rivera with the use of helicopters, drones and dive teams,” the report noted. “The child was said to be unharmed and told investigators that he and his mother were swimming, but his mother never got back into the boat.”

The exact details of Rivera’s disappearance remained unclear, and police said the accident remained under investigation.

Reports noted that the search late on Wednesday was exhaustive, though it was concluded late in the evening as night fell. It was not yet clear when the search would resume, or if deputies would be shifting to a recovery as Rivera was presumed to have drowned in the lake.

Deputies had not initially released Rivera’s name when giving the first update to local media, saying they were first working on notifying the family. But reports late on Wednesday identified the missing woman as Rivera, the actress who is best known for her role on Glee.

The news prompted an outpouring from fans of the show, with many taking to social media to offer condolences for the family and memories of the actress in her breakout role.

Rivera grew up and lived in the Los Angeles area, and after Glee ended launched a line of children’s clothing. Rivera said she was inspired by the birth of her son, Josey.

Rivera’s disappearance and presumed death is the latest tragedy to strike the cast of the show. Star Cory Monteith died in July 2013 of a drug overdose, and Mark Salling died by suicide in January 2018.