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Authorities search for 'Glee' star believed to have drowned in California lake

Glee star believed drowned

Authorities planned Friday to renew the search for “Glee” star Naya Rivera, who is believed to have drowned in a Southern California lake while boating with her 4-year-old son.

Rivera, 33, disappeared after renting the pontoon boat for three hours Wednesday afternoon and taking it out on Lake Piru in Ventura County, the Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

The lake an hour’s drive from Los Angeles was searched by dozens of people, most of them divers, with help from helicopters, drones and all-terrain vehicles. The search to recover Rivera’s body continued into the night Thursday before ending for that day.

The area where the boat was found is about 30 feet deep. Murky waters heavy with plants made it difficult for divers to see more than about a foot ahead of them, sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Donoghue said Thursday.

“If the body is entangled on something beneath the water, it may never come back up,” Donoghue said.

Rivera played Santana Lopez, a singing cheerleader in 113 episodes of the musical-comedy “Glee,” which aired on Fox from 2009 until 2015. She also had recurring roles on “The Bernie Mac Show” and “The Royal Family.”

Rivera, a Los Angeles resident, had experience boating on the lake in Los Padres National Forest, Donoghue said.

Surveillance video taken at about 1 p.m. Wednesday shows Rivera and her son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, leaving on the rented boat.

When the boat failed to return, its vendor found the vessel drifting in the northern end of the lake late Wednesday afternoon with the boy asleep on board. He told investigators that he and his mother had been swimming and he got back into the boat but she didn’t, according to a sheriff’s office statement.

The boy was wearing a life vest and another life jacket was found in the boat along with Rivera’s purse and identification.

Rivera is believed to have drowned “in what appears to be a tragic accident,” the statement said.

The boy, Rivera’s son from her marriage to actor Ryan Dorsey, was safe and healthy and with family members, authorities said.



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