Actress Naya Rivera was reported missing late on Wednesday, July 8, after going on a boat trip with her four-year-old son. The pair had rented a pontoon boat to take out on Lake Piru in Ventura County, and when they didn’t return the vessel at the end of the rental time, staff went out to look for the boat. They found it in the water with the young boy on board asleep, but Rivera missing.

“It is believed that Naya and her son were swimming in the lake near the boat and as they were getting back into the boat, her son made it into the boat and Naya went underwater and did not resurface,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department told Us.

Since 1994, at least seven people are known to have drowned in the 1,240-acre lake, most often while swimming without wearing flotation devices. When Rivera’s son, Josey, was found, he was wearing his life vest, but an adult-sized life vest, presumably intended for Rivera herself, was still on board.

The search for Rivera began on Wednesday until pausing during the late-night hours due to a concern about risk and low-visibility. It resumed Thursday morning, including air and water searches, and specialized dive teams and other assistance from multiple jurisdictions.

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 24 hours after she was last seen, E! reports that authorities have formally shifted the mission from a “search-and-rescue,” hoping to find Rivera alive, to what is termed a “recovery operation.”

“The goal is still to bring Ms. Rivera home to her family so that they can have closure,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Dyer stated at a press conference. He noted that, as of that time, the incident was being treated as an accident with now obvious signs of foul play.

Rivera is best-known for her starring role on the television series Glee. Some have noted the seemingly-eerie connection to two other deaths of cast members from that show. Co-star Cory Monteith died of a drug overdose in 2013, and Mark Salling committed suicide in 2018.

Los Angeles Magazine