Surveillance video, 911 call released amid search for ‘Glee’ actress Naya Rivera in Lake Piru

The Ventura County Sheriff's Department said Thursday the search for mother, actress, singer, and author Naya Rivera is now a recovery mission and that she is presumed dead.

Authorities initially resumed rescue efforts after the former “Glee” star and Southern California native was reported missing Wednesday afternoon. She was presumed to have drowned after her 4-year-old son Josey was found alone on a boat on Lake Piru.

LA Premiere Of Roadside Attraction's

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Naya Rivera attends the LA Premiere of Roadside Attraction's "Judy" at Samuel Goldwyn Theater on September 19, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Rescue efforts have now shifted to a recovery mission. 

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The lake was closed to the public Thursday as authorities continued to search for her. 

Rivera was last seen Wednesday around 1 p.m. when she rented a pontoon boat with her son on Lake Piru.


The actress was supposed to bring the boat back to the dock by 4 p.m. and after her three-hour rental expired, the company sent crews out to look for them. Another boater spotted the missing rental drifting in the water in an area called “The Narrows” located on the north side of the lake.

Rivera was nowhere in sight and her son, Josey, was found sleeping with a life vest on. He later told authorities he had been swimming with his mom and that she never got back on the boat.

Investigators said the boat was discovered in an area of the lake that was roughly 30-feet deep. There was about 15-feet of visibility in the water, sheriff's officials told reporters Thursday.

Fillmore police said they received a call just before 4:40 p.m. The sheriff's department released the 911 call audio Thursday afternoon.

"The emergency is we have a missing person. We found a little girl in one of the boats by the south end (of Lake Piru) but her mom's nowhere to be found," the female caller told the dispatcher. The woman said she hadn't seen the child yet and was calling it in on behalf of her husband who was one of the people who discovered the missing boat.

Sgt. Kevin Donoghue with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department said they do not suspect foul play since surveillance video from the dock showed Rivera and her son were the only two people who got on board the boat.

"We have no indication, after talking to her son, that miss Rivera made it to shore. So the focus of our search efforts are in the water," said Donoghue told reporters. "He gave enough information to investigators to conclude that his mother never made it out of the water."

Officials found her purse and an adult life jacket on that boat and said that her vehicle, a black Mercedes G Wagon, was found in the parking lot. 

Around 10:40 p.m. Wednesday, authorities identified Rivera as the missing woman. 

Thursday’s search teams included more than 100 personnel from the Ventura County Fire Department, the Ventura County Sherif's Department, the Coast Guard and assistance from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The sheriff's office and the Coast Guard also used helicopters and a drone during the recovery mission. 

Ventura County officials launched a full-scale search and rescue operation at the lake with members of Ventura County Dive Teams. 


Some celebrities have asked for prayers on social media. 

Rivera is known for her role as the sassy cheerleader and soulful singer Santana Lopez on the FOX television series "Glee," which aired from 2009 to 2015.

Rivera was married to actor Ryan Dorsey from 2014 to 2018.

"Glee" cast members have faced tragedy over the years.

Cory Monteith died of an accidental overdose in 2013 and Mark Salling died of an apparent suicide in 2018.

FOX 11's Kelli Johnson, Mary Stringini and Gigi Graciette contributed to this report.