Glee Star Naya Rivera Believed To Have Drowned In Lake Piru

The search for the actress has turned into a recovery mission.
Friday 10 July 2020
Glee star Naya Rivera is believed to have accidentally drowned in a California lake after a search involving divers, patrol boats and helicopters found no trace of the actress. Photo: AFP

The characters and storyline of hit TV series Glee had its ups and downs both on screen and real life and it seems like the cast has not been spared from drama or tragedy either. Just this week, Glee star Naya Rivera was believed to have accidentally drowned in a California lake, according to authorities on 9 July, after a search involving divers, patrol boats and helicopters found no trace of the US actress.

Rivera, best known for her role as high school cheerleader Santana Lopez in Glee, disappeared Wednesday after she had rented a boat at the camping and recreational hotspot Lake Piru, with her four-year-old son Josey Hollis Dorsey. He was found in the boat around three hours later by another person out on the lake “asleep and with his life vest on,” stated Ventura County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Eric Buschow.

The operation to locate the 33-year-old at Lake Piru, about an hour’s drive northwest of Los Angeles, “has turned into a recovery mission,” said a Ventura County Sheriff’s Office statement. “Investigators believe Rivera drowned in what appears to be a tragic accident,” it said.



“Rivera’s son told investigators that he and his mother had been swimming in the lake, and he got back in the boat, but Rivera did not,” the statement said. The lake was closed to the public as around 100 personnel, including the US Coast Guard and rescuers from neighbouring counties, searched the entire shoreline and surface of the lake. Dive teams from across the region assisted but had less than one foot of visibility underwater in daylight, making “the recovery operation a very slow process” even with use of sonar equipment.


Glee ran for six seasons, ending in 2015. Rivera more recently appeared in Devious Maids, and web series Step Up: High Water.

She had put up a photo of her and her son Dorsey on Twitter this week, alongside the phrase: “Just the two of us.” Thousands have left comments below the post, many offering their prayers.



Some cast members of Glee took to Twitter to send love and prayers.



This isn’t the first time that the Glee cast has experienced disaster. In 2018, Mark Salling, who played Noah Puckerman, took his own life weeks before he was to be sentenced for possession of child pornography and in 2013, Canadian castmate Cory Monteith who played Finn Hudson in the series, died of an overdose of drugs and alcohol.

Just last month, one of the lead actresses, Lea Michele, made headlines when she was called out by a cast member, Samantha Ware, for making her life hell on set. While Michele, who played Rachel Berry, apologised for her behaviour, it didn’t stop her from losing a sponsorship in the form of HelloFresh.