Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The latest in the search for Naya Rivera: Her family joins effort as police check nearby buildings

Naya Rivera
Naya Rivera
Photo: Frederick M. Brown (Getty Images)

As the search for Naya Rivera enters day four, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department continues to share updates. Authorities have been looking for the Glee actress since her 4-year-old son, Josey, was found alone on the pontoon they had rented at Lake Piru in Southern California on July 8. On the second day of searching, it was revealed that authorities believe Rivera “drowned in a tragic accident” and they transitioned from a “search and rescue mission” to a “recovery” mission. In the days since, the VCSD has led team of over 100 divers and rescue personnel—including some from neighboring counties and the United States Coast Guard—in a search that has included the use of dogs, sonar, and other underwater technology. At a press conference Friday, VCSD Capt. Eric Buschow told reporters, “We don’t know if she’s going to be found five minutes from now or five days from now.”

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On Sunday, authorities released an update on Twitter, further explaining the scope of their search. “In today’s search for Naya Rivera, cabins and outbuildings in the surrounding area will be checked once again, as well as the shoreline,” reads the tweet. “This has been part of the ongoing search effort since her disappearance on Wednesday afternoon. Boat crews continue to scan the lake.” This announcement was met with messages of thanks from those who have been holding out hope that Rivera did not drown like the VCSD believes. “yall see this???,” said one Twitter user, in response to the ongoing criticism the VCSD has faced for assuming Rivera’s death. “THEYRE LOOKING OUTSIDE THE LAKE CAN U STOP ATTACKING THEM NOW.”

It has also been revealed that Rivera’s family has been making regular visits to Lake Piru, which is about a 60-mile drive from central Los Angeles. “Naya’s mother and brother have been at the lake every day since Naya disappeared,” a source tells People. “They have been in constant contact with the Sheriff’s Office and involved in the search. On Saturday morning, they joined the search on a sheriff’s boat.”

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Heather Morris—whose Glee character, Brittany, wed Rivera’s Santana in season six of the Fox musical series—has also been vocal about wanting to get involved: “My name is Heather Morris, I’m Nayas close friend and co-worker, and I’m trying to conduct an on foot search and rescue mission along with a small group of friends at Lake Piru,” she wrote on Twitter in response to VCSD’s tweet Saturday announcing the end of their search efforts for the day. “I understand your team is doing EVERYTHING in their power, but we are feeling helpless, powerless and want to help in any way,” Morris added in a second tweet. “I have left a message with the department of Rescue and Air today, and I will call again tomorrow. Thank you.”

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VCSD took to Twitter Sunday to warn against independent efforts to search Lake Piru:“For those intent on searching for Naya Rivera on your own, 1. The lake is closed. 2. Temps are already in the 90’s. [sic] 3. The terrain around the lake is very steep and rugged. Our teams are well equipped and highly trained. We don’t want to have to rescue you.”

Lake Piru is a body of water known as being dangerous. (According to the Los Angeles Times, about seven people drowned in the lake between 1994 and 2000.) At a July 9 press conference, Donoghue was upfront about the difficulties of searching its murky waters, where visibility can be less than a foot in front of a diver. “If the body is entangled in something underneath the water, it may never come up,” he said, adding that they “don’t know” if they’ll ever find Rivera. But that “does not change the efforts, and does not change the gusto, what we push forward with the search operation,” officer Chris Dyer explained at another press conference. “The goal is still to bring Ms. Rivera home to her family, so they can have some closure.”

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Update July 12, 6:25 p.m. ET: VCSD Sgt. Shannon King tells People that “nothing came” of their cabin search:“They were just doing the shoreline to make sure nothing has changed. There were a lot of folks that were talking on social media about, ‘Oh, check the cabins. Maybe she’s there, maybe she’s hanging out,’” King says. She further explained that because they had “extra” search-and-rescue personnel on Sunday, they “did go to a couple of the cabins that were on the north end of the lake, that’s all that’s out there, and nothing came of it.”

A.V. Club Editor in Chief...but really just a She-Ra, Schitt’s Creek, Grey’s Anatomy, Survivor, Big Brother, Top Chef, The Good Place superfan.

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