After an extensive five day search, the body of Glee star Naya Rivera was found in Lake Piru, the 12th such drowning in that lake since 1994.
The tragic discovery eerily marks, to the day, seven years since co-star Corey Monteith passed away at the age of 31 from an accidental heroin overdose in a Vancouver hotel room on July 13, 2013.
Police have drawn the conclusion that the body is indeed that of Rivera, who was 33 at the time of her death.
“Based on the location where the body was found, physical characteristics of the body, clothing found on the body and the physical condition of the body, as well as the absence of any other persons reported missing in the area, we are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera,” the sheriff said. “We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point during their journey.”
Police have surmised that Rivera saved her son when the pair got caught in a current while swimming in the lake.
Authorities narrowed down the search area by referencing photos and FaceTime calls from Rivera to family members while she was enjoying the lake that day and pinpointed a cove, which is close to where her body was located.
“There was a picture sent to a family member that showed the boy on the boat by a cove. We found where that cove was.”
The lake, which is 40 metres deep and contains dangerous currents and submerged trees and plants, not only makes for treacherous swimming but also creates complicated challenges for rescuers when people go missing in its murky depths.
Rivera’s portrayal of a teen lesbian relationship and eventual marriage with her co-star Heather Morris came at a time when bi-sexual and lesbian teen stories were non-existent on television and their realistic portrayal legitimised feelings and gave many the confidence to come out.
Members of the Glee cast gathered and held hands in solidarity at the lakes edge on the same day that Naya Rivera’s death was confirmed.
This photo of the cast of #Glee gathering together at Lake Piru today where #NayaRivera’s body was found is incredibly powerful — especially when you consider today is the 7 year anniversary of Cory Monteith’s death. I’m a mess. pic.twitter.com/RhY9hUb78E
— Dave Quinn (@NineDaves) July 13, 2020
The Sheriff’s department confirms that there was no evidence of suicide or foul play.