On July 8, 2020, Naya Rivera “vanished from Lake Piru in Ventura County,” hours after renting a pontoon boat with her young son. As of this writing, rescuers are still searching for the actress. Best known for her turn as queer, Latinx cheerleader Santana Lopez on Ryan Murphy’s hit musical series Glee, more and more details continue to emerge regarding Rivera’s disappearance.
While authorities continue to search for Rivera — an effort [that] has transitioned to a search-and-recovery operation, according to ABC7 — friends, family, and fans around the globe are waiting with bated breath regarding any updates on the status of the star. During a news conference on July 9, 2020, Deputy Chris Dyer of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office had this to say about the search effort (via CNN): “We hope for the best, we prepare for the worst.”
Here’s everything we know about Naya Rivera’s disappearance so far.
Naya Rivera's son was rescued while his mother remains missing
According to CNN, Ventura County officials have developed a general timeline as to what they believe happened leading up the disappearance of Naya Rivera, which authorities have also categorized as a “tragic accident.” Per the outlet, at a news conference following Rivera’s disappearance, Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Buschow shared that the actress was reportedly seen renting and taking out a pontoon boat on the afternoon of July 8, 2020. It was also reported that she was with a small child, who many have presumed to be the Glee star’s son, Josey Hollis Dorsey.
Three hours after Rivera and the child embarked from the dock where they got the boat, another boater on the water happened upon Dorsey, alone, sleeping on the boat and wearing a life jacket. Rivera was nowhere to be found, and an adult-sized life jacket was reportedly on the pontoon’s deck.
During the news conference, Buschow revealed that, according to the child, both mother and son went swimming, but Rivera did not manage to get back on the boat. As of this writing, Josey is “healthy and with family,” per CNN.
While authorities were immediately called and promptly began their search for Rivera, the investigation was put on hold on the evening of July 8, 2020, and resumed at “first light” on the morning of July 9, 2020. Though Ventura County officials and responders are continuing their search for the actress, many fans took to social media to express their anger and dismay over the investigation’s overnight pause.
Fans are upset over Ventura County's efforts to find Naya Rivera
After the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced their intention to put the search for Naya Rivera on pause overnight via Twitter, fans of the former Glee star fired back on social media, blasting the decision. Some stated that authorities would not do so if Rivera — who, as a multiracial actress is a source of representation for many communities — were a white woman like her former co-star, Lea Michele.
“WOMEN OF COLOR DESERVE BETTER,” one person stated on Twitter in response to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office’s announcement. “WOMEN OF COLOR DESERVE TO BE SEARCHED FOR. TREAT NAYA LIKE SHES LEA MICHELE AND GO F**KING LOOK FOR HER I’M SICK.” Others on social media responded to accusations of racial bias on the part of Ventura County officials by opining that searching for Rivera at night would put “many people at risk.”
Despite the differing opinions on how the situation is being handled, there is no evidence of what protocols are for a search-and-rescue of this kind on any of the website for Lake Piru – where Rivera and her son were out boating — the Ventura County’s Sheriff’s Office, or the Ventura County Underwater Search and Rescue Team.
Heather Morris is praying for former co-star Naya Rivera
Since word of Naya Rivera’s disappearance from a pontoon boat on Lake Piru made headlines, a number of celebrities — including some of Rivera’s former Glee castmates — have expressed wishes for her safe recovery and have led calls to prayer on social media. Heather Morris, who played Rivera’s Glee love interest and best friend Brittany S. Pierce throughout all six seasons of the show, posted an Instagram Story asking fans for their support to “bring our Naya back home to us” (via E! News). “We need your love and light,” added Morris.
Glee alum Harry Shum Jr. simply tweeted, “Praying,” while Rivera’s former co-star Chord Overstreet took to Twitter to share this message: “love and hug on the people you can, while you can. I love you. Everyone please send out your prayers.”
Performer Demi Lovato – who appeared on a four-episode arc of Glee during its fifth season — also expressed solidarity and hope for Rivera’s secure and safe return. As per The Blast, Lovato took to Instagram to post a Story featuring a lit candle with the caption, “Please pray for [Naya Rivera] to be found safe and sound.”
Our thoughts are with Naya Rivera’s family and friends during this difficult time.
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