Actress Naya Rivera, best known for her role as Santana Lopez in Glee, is missing and believed to have drowned after her 4-year-old son was found alone on a boat in Southern California.
The Associated Press reports: The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department late Wednesday confirmed that Rivera, 33, is the person being searched for in the waters of Lake Piru, which is approximately 56 miles (90 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles. KNBC reported late Wednesday that Rivera rented a pontoon boat at the Lake Piru reservoir Wednesday and that her young son was found on the boat wearing a life vest. Rivera’s identification was found on the boat. Sheriff’s officials launched a boat and helicopter search Wednesday afternoon, but that had been suspended by nighttime. The search will continue early Thursday. “We’re going on the belief that she did go in the water and we have not been able to locate her. So this may well be a case of drowning,” Captain Eric Buschow said during a news conference.
Rivera’s death would be just the latest tragedy to hit the cast of the musical comedy-drama, which aired on Fox from 2009-2015. Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson, died from a drug and alcohol overdose in 2013. And Mark Saling, who played Noah “Puck” Puckerman, committed suicide in 2018 after pleading guilty to child-pornography charges.
Rivera played a cheerleader who slept with Hudson and dated Puckerman before coming out as lesbian — which led to gay rumors about the actress herself.
“No, I’ve never had a relationship with a girl, contrary to what people might think,” Rivera told Latina magazine in 2013. “There are very few ethnic LGBT characters on television, so I am honored to represent them. I love supporting this cause, but it’s a big responsibility, and sometimes it’s a lot of pressure on me.”
More from Entertainment Weekly: Harry Shum Jr., who starred alongside Rivera on Glee, tweeted that he was “praying,” while Jackée Harry similarly asked fans to pray for “the lovely Naya Rivera.” Harry also posted their shared scene on the sitcom The Royal Family, which was Rivera’s first big television job at only 4 years old. “We starred alongside one another in her first very television series, The Royal Family, and I’ve watched her career blossom ever since. Please God, don’t cut this life short,” Harry tweeted. In addition to Shum Jr. (Mike Chang), numerous Glee alums, including actors Iqbal Theba (Principal Figgins), Max Adler (Dave Karofsky), Damian McGinty (Rory Flanagan), and Vanessa Lengies (Sugar Motta), also shared well-wishes for their former costar.