The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department told Us Weekly that Rivera, 33, rented a motorized pontoon boat for three hours at Lake Piru near Los Angeles. She was 30 minutes overdue to return the boat, so personnel went searching and found the vessel adrift with Josey asleep on it. He was alone.
“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 under water and did not resurface,” the department said in a statement to Us.
A large-scale search that involved drone teams, a sheriff’s boat and a dive team was conducted from 4:38 p.m. to 10 p.m. The sheriff’s office said the “search was terminated … due to darkness” but it resumed the next morning with additional divers and sonar equipment.
Captain Eric Buschow of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, meanwhile, told Us that Josey was found wearing a life vest in compliance with California law but “another vest [was found] on board the boat for an adult, so it looks like [Rivera] was not wearing” hers.
“The fact that she was seen in the water shows there is a high likelihood that she drowned,” Buschow said, noting that “all indications point” to the actress being dead.
Rivera shares Josey with her ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, to whom she was married from 2014 to 2018. In addition to starring as Santana Lopez on all six seasons of Glee, she had roles in The Royal Family and Devious Maids.
Scroll down to see messages of hope that celebrities shared in the wake of the news.