Seven years ago, the cast of “Glee” lived through a horrific tragedy: the death of Cory Monteith on July 13, 2013.
Exactly seven years after Monteith was found dead from an accidental overdose, the “Glee” cast lost another member of their beloved TV family, Naya Rivera, who was declared dead on Monday when her body was found in Lake Piru in Southern California where she had gone missing six days earlier, after an apparent drowning accident while boating with her 4-year-old son.
Members from the cast of “Glee” were photographed by Los Angeles news stations holding hands on the shore of the water, about an hour before Ventura County Sheriffs confirmed Rivera’s death during a press conference. The cast gathered shortly after the police had announced a body was found in the lake and was in the process of being recovered.
Rivera went missing on July 8 when her son was found on a boat sleeping in a life vest. Rivera had rented the pontoon boat with her son around 1 p.m. on that day, and she was reported missing around 4:30 p.m. The sheriffs arrived around 5 p.m., and had been searching the water and the surrounding area, ever since.
“Glee” star Heather Morris tweeted that she had asked to participate in the search this weekend. After her first tweet, sheriffs specified that they did not want the public to join the search, and Morris then wrote, “I have spoken to Sheriff Eric Buschow and rest assured they are using every single one of their resources to locate our Naya. I have full confidence that they’re doing everything they can, and probably more. We will hold off on the citizen search and rescue until we get the go. Understand it’s 110 degrees here and if you’re not highly trained in search and rescue, this could end up a much more dangerous situation for everybody involved. Please be kind, compassionate and caring for those who are looking for our Naya.”
Morris, along with many other “Glee” co-stars wrote messages of hope on their social media accounts, including Amber Riley, who said, “I still believe in miracles. I still believe she will be found.” Jenna Ushkowitz posted over the weekend, “Please find her,” and Morris wrote, “Bring Naya home.”
Rivera’s body was found on Monday morning around 9 a.m., on the sixth day of the search for her at Lake Piru. During a Monday afternoon press conference, officials said her body was found near the surface of the water where the depth is between 35 and 60 feet with a lot of brush where her body could have been entangled, ever since she went missing.
Detectives said there is no indication of foul play or suicide. Her body is being taken to the medical’s examiners office where a positive identification will be made through dental records, and an autopsy will be performed.
Police said they were able to locate the area where Rivera went missing through images from FaceTime, since she was chatting with her family members while out on the lake with her son, which helped detect where she was. Police also interviewed all witnesses who were out in the water that day. Authorities said they have been in constant communication with Rivera’s family throughout the search.
Rivera’s young son “described being helped into the boat by Naya who boosted him onto the boat, and he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water,” Sheriff Bill Ayub said during the press conference. Swimming is permitted in the lake, despite heavy brush and low visibility in the water.
“We believe that she mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself,” a sheriff said.
Rivera, 33, was best known for her role as Santana Lopez on the hit Fox musical series “Glee.” She was currently starring in the “Step Up” dance series on YouTube, which was picked up for a third season by Starz.