During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said he is “confident” the body found is Rivera’s.
“Based on the location where the body was found, physical characteristics of the body, clothing found on the body and the physical condition of the body, as well as the absence of any other persons reported missing in the area, we are confident that the body we found is that of Naya Rivera,” he said.
The body was found floating in the northeastern part of the lake near the surface of the water at 9:10 a.m. PT on Monday near where Rivera disappeared. The area had been searched extensively by divers using sonar technology, but the search and recovery mission was hampered by difficult conditions.
“We believe she was concealed within some of the shrubbery on the floor bed of the lake,” Ayub explained. “The body looked as though it had been in the water for several days.”
It’s possible Rivera’s last act was saving the life of her son.
Ayub said the boy told investigators they were swimming and his mother helped boost him onto the boat. When he looked back she was gone. The sheriff noted there are currents in Lake Piru, particularly in the afternoon, which is the time of day when she disappeared. Because the boat wasn’t anchored, it is possible that she “mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.”
An autopsy will be performed and dental records are expected to confirm the match.
On July 8, Rivera rented a pontoon boat at Lake Piru at 1 p.m. PT, according to investigators, and her son was discovered sleeping alone on the boat unharmed shortly after 4 p.m. The boy told investigators he and his mother went swimming in the lake, but that she did not get back on the boat. Rivera’s son was found wearing a life vest, but it’s not believed that she was wearing one as a second life vest was found inside the boat.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Captain Eric Buschow said during a press conference last week they had enough information to conclude “that she never made it out of the water.” He also ruled out foul play.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department boat on Lake Piru conducting a search for Rivera on Friday. (AFP via Getty Images)
Buschow said that Rivera’s son was extremely helpful to investigators.
“Kids that age, they are going to be very matter of fact in providing information. And he was. He was able to provide information that was very helpful to investigators,” he added.
Us Weekly.” data-reactid=”43″>Rivera sent a relative a photo of her son in front of a cove before she disappeared, Robert Inglis of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office told Us Weekly.
“There was a picture sent to a family member that showed the boy on the boat by a cove,” Inglis said on Sunday. “We found where that cove was.”
The picture was taken 90 minutes to two hours before the boy was found alone on the boat. It’s not immediately clear if the photo helped divers locate her body.
Search teams were scouring the northern part of the lake as video surveillance showed the boat never went on the south side of the lake. The pontoon boat was found floating in an area estimated to be 30 feet deep with 15 feet visibility in the northern part of the lake, an area with lots of underwater trees that can cause entanglements.
Buschow said during a press conference on Thursday that there are “no strong undercurrents like you have in the ocean,” but noted the water can be very cold “and the hypothermic elements of being in cold water could affect something.” However, he didn’t say whether that was a factor in her likely drowning and noted that an investigation is ongoing.
Los Angeles Times in 2011. “I didn’t think it was going to go this far. But I’m glad that it did because there have been a lot of fans who have expressed that they’ve been going through similar situations in their lives. I’ve heard from girls that are in high school, they’re 16, 17, and they’re like, ‘I came out to my mom,’ or ‘I came out to my friends, and thank you for helping me do that.’”” data-reactid=”58″>“Honestly, I never thought I’d actually be playing a teen lesbian,” Rivera told the Los Angeles Times in 2011. “I didn’t think it was going to go this far. But I’m glad that it did because there have been a lot of fans who have expressed that they’ve been going through similar situations in their lives. I’ve heard from girls that are in high school, they’re 16, 17, and they’re like, ‘I came out to my mom,’ or ‘I came out to my friends, and thank you for helping me do that.’”
told Mini Magazine in 2016. “I want to teach him to be confident but kind, strong but not proud, and to always be in love with life.”” data-reactid=”60″>“I hope to instill good morals and values in him,” she told Mini Magazine in 2016. “I want to teach him to be confident but kind, strong but not proud, and to always be in love with life.”
Rivera added that her love for her boy is “a love never found anywhere or with anyone else.” She said she hopes he will learn lessons from her book one day: “I hope he would take away that growing up has its challenges, but behind every cloud is a silver lining.”