Hand in hand. Naya Rivera’s friends, family and former Glee costars were spotted at Lake Piru on Monday, July 13, after her body was discovered in the water.
ABC7 Eyewitness News captured the 33-year-old actress’ loved ones holding hands while looking out at the lake in Ventura County, California, on Monday. While social media users were quick to speculate on the identity of Rivera’s family and friends, a source confirms to Us Weekly that Amber Riley was with her former Glee castmates at the lake. Heather Morris was also spotted in photos obtained by the Daily Mail.
Authorities announced on Monday that a body was found at Lake Piru five days after Rivera went missing during a pontoon boat ride with her 4-year-old son, Josey. The department later confirmed at a press conference that the actress was found dead in the water.
Rivera was reported missing on Wednesday, July 8, after Josey, whom she shares with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, was found unharmed and alone in the rented boat. Captain Eric Buschow of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department subsequently revealed that Rivera was likely not wearing a life jacket when she went swimming in the lake as an adult personal flotation device was found in the boat with Josey.
“We can say that [what] contributes to a lot of the drownings is when people go swimming and they are not wearing their life vests,” Robert Inglis of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team Us on Saturday, July 11. “If you jumped off the boat, it doesn’t take much to get exhausted if you’re not in shape. Winds do kick up at that lake, and the boats start to get away and you are trying to go after that boat … you could get a leg cramp. If you are wearing a life vest, you could rest and someone can go back and pick you up, or call for help or something like that.”
One day after the search for the Step Up: High Water star began, the sheriff’s department announced it had shifted its search from a rescue mission to a recovery mission.
Several of Rivera’s former Glee costars have spoken out following her disappearance, including Riley. (Rivera played Santana Lopez on all six seasons of the Fox show, which ran from 2009 to 2015.)
“Show some respect,” Riley, who played Mercedes Jones, tweeted after fans speculated about her social media silence on Sunday, July 12. “All our energy is going toward helping find Naya and praying for her safe return and for her family. No one owes anyone online a performance of grief. This is very real and devastating. Focus on Naya and her family. Not us. We don’t matter right now.”
Kevin McHale retweeted Riley’s post, adding, “I know the rest of us are completely shattered, but not without hope. Please respect her family & their privacy in this moment. Please refrain from judging those who don’t show their pain on social media.”
Morris, for her part, asked officials if she could join the search for Rivera on Saturday. Morris portrayed fellow cheerleader and Santana’s love interest Brittany S. Pierce on the popular dramedy.
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