‘Glee’ actress Naya Rivera feared dead after disappearing from boat in California: ‘Prayers up’

Actress Naya Rivera, best known for her role on “Glee,” is presumed dead after she disappeared from a rented boat on a Southern California lake Wednesday, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

Rivera arrived at Lake Piru in Ventura County, about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles, around 1 p.m. and rented a boat with her 4-year-old son, said Capt. Eric Buschow, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office..

Around 4 p.m., the boat was found with the boy inside but Rivera missing, and their vehicle still at the site. The child is now in the company of family, according to Buschow.

In this Feb. 23, 2016, file photo, actress Naya Rivera attends Vanity Fair and FIAT Celebration of Young Hollywood in West Hollywood, Calif.

“He is safe with family members,” Buschow said.

The 33-year-old Rivera is presumed drowned in the lake and a search is ongoing for her body, Buschow said.

USA TODAY has reached out to Rivera’s publicist. 

STAR FILE PHOTO A July 2017 photo showing Lake Piru in eastern Ventura County.

A search and rescue dive team was dispatched to conduct a search, as well as a sheriff’s helicopter and search drone. Additional resources will be dispatched to continue the search early Thursday morning.

“We anticipate having a lot of resources out here tomorrow resuming at daybreak with multiple dive teams from the state office of emergency services,” Buschow said.

Rivera starred as Santana Lopez on the Fox musical dramedy “Glee,” which ran from 2009 to 2015. A Southern California native, Rivera was born and raised in the Santa Clarita Valley of Los Angeles County, approximately 20 miles from Lake Piru.

She started her career in entertainment at age 4, with recurring roles on “Family Matters” and “The Royal Family,” as well as minor appearances on other shows like “Baywatch” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” according to IMDb.

Most recently, Rivera starred as Collette Jones for three seasons of the YouTube Red series “Step Up: High Water.”

The day before she went missing Rivera posted a picture on Instagram embracing her son with the caption, “Just the two of us.”

On July 2, Rivera wrote on Instagram: “No matter the year, circumstance, or strife, every day you’re alive is a blessing. Make the most of today and every day you are given. tomorrow is not promised.”

Several of Rivera’s “Glee” castmates responded to the news, praying for her safe return.

“We need all the prayers we can get to bring our Naya back home to us,” wrote Heather Morris, who played Brittany Pierce. “We need your love and light.” 

“please pray for @nayarivera to be found safe and sound,” singer Demi Lovato, who played one of Rivera’s love interests in season 5 of the show, posted on her Instagram story alongside a photo of a lit candle. 

Late Wednesday, Harry Shum Jr. (Mike Chang) tweeted, “Praying.”

Actress Jackée Harry, who made a cameo as herself in season 5 of the show, tweeted, “Prayers up for the lovely Naya Rivera.”

Harry shared a scene the two shot together from Rivera’s first television series, “The Royal Family.”

 “I’ve watched her career blossom ever since,” Harry wrote. “Please God, don’t cut this life short.”

Jeremy Childs is a breaking news and public safety reporter covering the night shift for the Ventura County Star. He can be reached by calling 805-437-0208 or emailing jeremy.childs@vcstar.com. You can also find him on Twitter @Jeremy_Childs.

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