Naya Rivera Dead At 33 After Her Body Was Found At Lake Piru

glee santana naya rivera

Naya Rivera made a name for herself on television as the scene-stealing Santana Lopez on the hit Fox series Glee, but tragically went missing on California's Lake Piru on Wednesday, July 8. When she was not located, she was presumed dead. Now, her body has been recovered in Lake Piru. She was 33-years-old at the time of her death.

TMZ reached out Ventura County officials, who reportedly found the body on Monday in the northeastern portion of Lake Piru. While details are still being released, it's believed that Naya Rivera drowned. A press conference is currently scheduled to be held later today by the Ventura County Sheriff's Office.

Although best known for her fan-favorite role as Santana on Glee, Naya Rivera released a solo single in 2013 that featured rapper Big Sean. She appeared in her first feature film in 2014 with a role in At the Devil's Door, and returned to television in 2015 to recur in the Lifetime dramedy Devious Maids. Starting in 2018, Rivera starred in the YouTube Red series Step Up: High Water, and was slated to appear in the third season of the series following its move to Starz. She is survived by her four-year-old son, Josey.

Unfortunately, this Monday also marks the anniversary of another tragic event. On this day seven years ago, Naya Rivera's Glee co-star Corey Monteith of a "toxic combination" of heroin and alcohol.

Naya Rivera was reported missing on Wednesday, July 8 after she did not return with a rented boat during a trip out on Lake Piru in California. According to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, the boat was found drifting in the northern portion of the lake. Her son Josey was found on board the boat, sleeping. The four-year-old told authorities that he and Rivera were swimming in the lake, and while he got back into the boat, his mother didn't.

A search began on Wednesday night involving approximately 50 personnel from the sheriff's office, boat crews, divers, unmanned aerial vehicles, and a helicopter for five hours before being suspended at 10 p.m. due to zero visibility and dangerous conditions for the divers. The search resumed on Thursday morning, but divers experienced less than one foot of visibility. On Thursday, July 9, Naya Rivera was believed to have died in a case of accidental drowning.

When news broke that Naya Rivera had disappeared on Lake Piru but before she was presumed drowned, her former Glee costars took social media to share hopeful messages. Rivera's disappearance prompted local residents around Lake Piru in Ventura County, California to start a petition seeking changes.

The petition, called "Lake Piru Warning Signs," notes that Rivera is not the first to go missing at Lake Piru, which is deep with whirlpools, and requests that signs go up at Lake Piru to keep swimmers informed about the dangers they face. Speaking at a press conference on July 10 (via Los Angeles' KTLA 5 News), Ventura County Captain Eric Buschow shared that the lake would remain closed for the duration of the search for Naya Rivera.

Our thoughts here at CinemaBlend are with the family, friends, and loved ones of Naya Rivera in this difficult time.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).