Naya Rivera: Search resumes for missing 'Glee' actress, police say they remain hopeful but are 'realistic'
Police have resumed the search for Naya Rivera, who went missing on Wednesday, July 8, after going for a swim with her son. The 33-year-old along with her son Josey reportedly went for boating and swimming in the afternoon after renting a pontoon boat on Lake Piru in South California.
However, three hours after they sailed, another boater raised the alarm after finding Josey alone on board, asleep. When officers responded to the scene, they found an adult life-vest life jacket there, suggesting Rivera was not wearing one. They also found the actress’ wallet and identification on the boat, which helped them to confirm the identity of the missing person.
Chris Dyer, a Ventura County Sheriff officer, said that they are “hopeful” but are “realistic” too about the ‘Glee’ star. Dyer spoke at a press conference held at the side of the lake on Thursday morning, July 9, as he stated: “I think a tragic accident happened here and it breaks my heart. Not only am I helping search for Ms Rivera but I’m also a father, it really pains me that something that was meant to be so good and so fun, to come out here on the lake, went so bad.”
Officer Dyer went on: “The latest is that we’re switching efforts into a search and recovery operation. That doesn’t change anything in the efforts that we’re putting forth to locate her but it changes the title, in a sense. We’re presuming that an accident happened, we’re presuming that she drowned in the lake. There are no signs of foul play, no signs that anything went wrong besides a tragic accident.” Dyer said: “The goal is still to bring Ms Rivera home to her family so they can have some closure.”
Rivera’s son Josey has told detectives that her mother “jumped in the water and didn't come back up”. Captain Eric Buschow, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, said: “The [son] said that he had been swimming with his mother and that he got back in the boat and his mum didn't. We know that the [boy] had a life vest on, there was another adult life vest found on the boat. You can imagine it's somewhat challenging interviewing a three-year-old and getting those kinds of details.”
“We're going on the belief that she did go in the water, and we've not been able to locate her. This may well be a case of drowning,” he added, later clarifying that the child is 4 years old. Buschow also mentioned that the spot where Rivera went for swimming, it’s not known how deep the water was. Also, it was not clear what conditions she faced at the time. “This is a big reservoir, it's deep, these kinds of things happen. We don't know all the circumstances. Investigators are working on that, getting as much information as possible,” he said.
Meanwhile, another report said that fans of Rivera have signed a petition requesting Ventura County police to resume the search operation for the star after it was suspended at around 8 pm Wednesday, July 8. The search was halted in the night with a plan to start over again the next day.
The Change.org petition launched by a user named Memphis Johnston has received more than 38,000 signatures. The petition read: “Naya Rivera is more than an actress, singer, or model because at the end of the day like other Black and Brown women who’ve been in a similar circumstance Naya is somebody’s daughter, mother, and friend. Send the message to Black and Brown women that there is a community that will fight for their justice because the message that Ventura County Police are sending is that no matter how beautiful or successful Black or Brown women are, our safety will never be prioritized. Bring Naya Rivera home and hold Ventura County Police to the standard required of their job.”