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Body Of ‘Glee’ Star Naya Rivera Recovered 5 Days Later From California Lake (pic)

The body of “Glee” star Naya Rivera was found Monday near the surface of a Southern California lake, authorities said.

Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said at a news conference that the body that search crews found floating in the northeast corner of Lake Piru earlier in the day was the 33-year-old Rivera.

Ayub said that while an autopsy and official identification are forthcoming, the circumstances from the location of the body to the fact that no one else has been reported missing in the lake makes the department “confident that the body we found is Naya Rivera.” Authorities say they believe Rivera drowned.

The discovery came five days after Rivera disappeared on Lake Piru, where her 4-year-old son was found July 8 asleep and alone on a rented pontoon boat, authorities said.

She and her son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, had climbed off the boat and gone swimming. The boy told investigators that his mother helped him get back aboard, then he looked back and saw her disappear into the water, Ayub said.

“She must have mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself,” Ayub said.

“Glee” star Naya Rivera ’s 4-year-old son told investigators that his mother, whose body was found in a Southern California lake Monday, boosted him back on to the deck of their rented boat before he looked back and saw her disappearing under the water, authorities said.

“She must have mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself,” Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said at a news conference.

The boy was found asleep and alone in a life vest on the drifting pontoon boat about three hours after they launched on Lake Piru northwest of Los Angeles, setting off a five-day search that ended with the discovery of the body of the 33-year-old floating near the surface early Monday, authorities said.

The mother and son had gone swimming, which was permitted in that part of the lake, Ayub said. She was not wearing a life vest.

Authorities believe that Rivera drowned accidentally, and that her body was most likely trapped in the vegetation under the lake for several days before floating to the top, Ayub said.

Divers had already thoroughly searched the area where she was eventually found, but shrubbery that had grown wildly in the area, which was recently dry, must have kept her hidden in the murky water.

Family members chatted with Rivera via FaceTime when she was on the boat, and search crews watched those videos for clues to where she might have gone down, Ayub said.

“It has been an extremely difficult time for her family throughout this ordeal,” Ayub said “We share in their grief.”

The lake an hour’s drive from Los Angeles was searched by dozens of divers working in waters with little visibility, with help from sonar and robotic devices combing the bottom and helicopters and drones searching above.

The body was flown 40 miles to the coroner’s office in Ventura, where an autopsy would be conducted, authorities said.

Rivera played singing cheerleader Santana Lopez for six seasons on the Fox musical-comedy “Glee.”

She is the third major cast member from the show to die in their 30s. The announcement of her death comes seven years to the day after co-star Cory Monteith died at 31 from a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin, with the series losing one of its leads while it was still on the air.

Another co-star, Mark Salling, who Rivera dated at one point, killed himself in 2018 at age 35 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

Rivera had experience boating on the lake in Los Padres National Forest, authorities said.

When the boat failed to return, its vendor found the vessel drifting in the northern end of the lake late Wednesday afternoon with the boy asleep on board, about three hours after it was first taken out.

The boy was wearing a life vest, and another life jacket was found in the boat along with Rivera’s purse and identification.

The boy, Rivera’s son from her marriage to actor Ryan Dorsey, was safe and healthy and quickly reunited with family members after he was found, authorities said. His parents divorced in 2018 after nearly four years of marriage.

The most recent tweet on Rivera’s account, from the day before her death, read “just the two of us” along with a photo of her and her son.

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