Ventura County Sheriff’s Department has deployed “helicopters, boats, and ATV vehicles” to help locate Naya Rivera.
The former ‘Glee’ actress was declared missing and presumed dead on Wednesday (08.07.20) afternoon after her four-year-old son Josey was found alone on a boat on Lake Piru in California, as earlier reported by The Sauce.
And after an initial search for the star was called off at nightfall on Wednesday, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department have confirmed they have begun searching the lake once again with “over 80 people involved in the search”.
The sheriff’s Twitter account wrote: “Multiple teams of professional search & rescue personnel are actively searching Lake Piru for clues to the location of Naya Rivera. With over 80 people involved in the search right now, we are using helicopters, boats, ATV vehicles, and ground personnel to try and locate her.
“We have mutual aid for specialized dive teams en route from Los Angeles County, San Luis Obispo County, and Tulare County. We will keep you posted with any updates as we learn them. Our hearts and prayers go out the all of the family and friends of the Rivera family. #sheriffvc”
On Wednesday, divers were called to search the lake but were unsuccessful in their search, which was suspended at nightfall. A Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed they had deployed air and dive teams to “search for [a] possible drowning victim”.
Naya’s son Josey – whose father is Naya’s ex-husband Ryan Dorsey – was asleep when he was found in the rented vessel by another boater, and later told Ventura County Sherrif’s deputies that his mother had gone swimming in the water, but didn’t get back up.
The actress’ life jacket was still in the boat, and her purse was found inside her car, which was in the parking lot near the boat rental company.
Josey is said to be OK and is with family members.
Ventura County Sheriff Sergeant Kevin Donoghue admitted there is “no way to really say” what happened. He said: “If the body is entangled on something beneath the water, it may never come back up. There’s no way to really say. We’re putting our best foot forward to try and locate her, we’re using all the assets that are available to us including technology like sonar.”
But he insisted the police are doing “everything [they] can” to find the ‘Glee’ star.
He added: “We’re relying on their expertise to help us in that endeavor. We’re going to do everything that we can to find her.”
Naya’s fellow ‘Glee’ star Heather Morris is “holding onto hope” that her friend will be brought home “in a swift and speedy recovery”.
She told E!: “It’s so hard to wrap your head around something unknown. I’m holding on to hope that the rescuers will bring Naya home in a swift and speedy recovery. I know she would remind me in moments like this that God has a plan for everything and although we may not know that that plan is, we need to keep our chin up and stay strong.”
Naya’s son was found sleeping on the boat when the vessel was discovered, but she was nowhere to be seen.
Divers have had difficulty seeing in the water, which has made the operation a “slow process”.
A police report from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department reads: “The search for a missing Los Angeles actress at Lake Piru has turned into a recovery mission as of Thursday morning.
“Naya Rivera rented a boat at the lake Wednesday afternoon and went for an excursion with her four-year-old son. The boat was found drifting in the northern portion of the lake with the child alone and asleep onboard. 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.
“Approximately 50 sheriff’s personnel, along with a helicopter, boat crews, divers, and unmanned aerial vehicles searched the lake for five hours Wednesday evening, but Rivera could not be found. The entire shoreline and surface of the lake were thoroughly searched. Divers also searched underwater in the area where the boat had last been seen. However, there was no sign of Rivera. The search was suspended at 10:00 pm Wednesday night due to zero visibility in the water and dangerous conditions for the divers.
“The search resumed Thursday morning with divers experiencing less than one foot of visibility in the water in daylight. The difficult conditions have made the recovery operation a very slow process. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is assisting in the search with divers and sonar equipment. Approximately 100 personnel are participating in the mission on Thursday, including resources from neighboring counties and the United States Coast Guard.
“Investigators believe Rivera drowned in what appears to be a tragic accident.”
More than 80 people are involved in the search after the police deployed “helicopters, boats, and ATV vehicles”.