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Body Found At Lake Piru Amid Search For Missing 'Glee' Actress Naya Rivera, Authorities Say

Naya Rivera is believed to have drowned during a boating trip with her 4-year-old son, who was found asleep and alone on their rented boat.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
Body Found Amid Search For 'Glee' Star Naya Rivera

A body was found at Lake Piru in southern California amid the search for missing actress Naya Rivera, authorities announced Monday, though they couldn't confirm if it belonged to the former "Glee" star.

Rivera, 33, went missing on Wednesday during a boating trip with her 4-year-old son at Lake Piru in Ventura County. After nearly a week of searching, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office announced on Monday that a body has been located, but released no other information. 

"A body has been found at Lake Piru this morning. The recovery is in progress," the office wrote, before announcing a press conference set to take place Monday afternoon.

Rivera went missing hours after she and her young son rented a pontoon boat; the child was found sleeping alone on the boat and later told authorities that his mother had gotten into the water but never got back out. Deputy Chris Dyer with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that they suspect a tragic accident occurred and Rivera drowned in the lake, CNN reports. The child was wearing a life jacket when he was found, but an adult life jacket was found on the boat, as was Rivera’s purse and other personal belongings. Her son has since been placed in the care of family members.

In the nearly week-long search, authorities utilized the skills of divers, dogs, and “sophisticated sonar equipment,” the sheriff’s office said on Twitter. Search and rescue teams also scoured nearby cabins and buildings, as well as the shoreline, according to an update on Sunday.

Rivera’s loved ones have been converging at Lake Piru amid ongoing search efforts. Rivera’s mother, Yolanda, and her younger brother, Mychal, joined in the search on Saturday, wearing life jackets and joining others on a boat, TMZ reports. One photo shows the pair standing on the dock, with Rivera’s mother on her knees, arms outstretched toward the water.

Rivera’s father, George, was also at the lake on Saturday, as was Rivera’s ex-husband and the father of her son, actor Ryan Dorsey, The Daily Mail reports.

Ahead of the discovery, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office took to Twitter over the weekend urging the public to stay away from the scene after reportedly catching wind of civilians’ plans to join the search.

“For those intent on searching for Naya Rivera on your own, 1. The lake is closed. 2. Temps are already in the 90’s. 3. The terrain around the lake is very steep and rugged,” the office wrote on Sunday. “Our teams are well equipped and highly trained.”

“We don’t want to have to rescue you,” they continued.

The waters of Lake Piru offer limited visibility, making search efforts even more difficult. Video shared by the sheriff’s office show just how murky the water is at a depth of 30 feet.

Rivera had a starring role on the hit series “Glee” from 2009 to 2015 and enjoyed a decades-long television career that began in childhood. Her former “Glee” co-stars have taken to social media since her disappearance to share their concern and offer their prayers. Heather Morris, who portrayed Rivera’s love interest on “Glee,” said on Twitter on Sunday in a post directed to authorities that she and a small group of close friends were interested in joining the search for Rivera. However, in a later tweet, she said that she has since spoken to authorities and will not be searching until there is a call for volunteers.

“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 ahead that they’ll allow volunteers,” she wrote in a series of tweets. “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.”

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