Body found in Lake Piru is missing Glee star Naya Rivera, police confirm

Naya Rivera Credit: AP/Press Association Images

A body found in the search for Naya Rivera is that of the Glee actress, police have confirmed.

The 33-year-old went missing on Wednesday while on a boating trip on Lake Piru in southern California with her four-year-old son, who was found safe and well.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced on Monday that a body had been found floating in the northern part of the lake and has now confirmed it is Rivera.

During a press conference, Sheriff Bill Ayub said police are "confident" the body found is that of Rivera.

There is no indication of foul play or that Rivera took her own life, he added.

Naya Rivera. Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Police said undergrowth in the water complicated the search and officers had scoured the portion of the lake where Rivera was later found.

Investigators said they believe she was concealed by the shrubbery before floating to the surface after becoming buoyant during decomposition.

She was found at about 9.10am local time by Lake Piru park rangers. The body looked like it had been in the water for several days, police added.

Officers also shared more details on how Rivera may have died, but added it was "speculation" at this point.

Members of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office used boats in the recovery operation to find missing actress Naya Rivera. Credit: AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Mr Ayub said currents that typically appear on the surface of the lake in the afternoon may have caused the unanchored boat to drift away from Rivera and her son.

She may have “mustered enough energy” to put the child back on board but not enough to save herself, he added.

Rivera’s Glee co-star Jane Lynch was among those paying tribute. She tweeted: “Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.”

Josh Sussman, who played Jacob Ben Israel in Glee, said: "Naya, you will be missed so much."

Heather Morris, who played Rivera’s on-screen love interest in the programme, was pictured holding hands with members of the late actress’s family at the side of the lake, shortly after police found the body.

Rivera was best known for playing high school cheerleader Santana Lopez in TV musical comedy Glee.

Lake Piru where Naya Rivera's body was found. Credit: Ringo HW Chiu/AP

She and her son Josey Hollis rented a boat at Lake Piru, a popular spot for swimmers about 56 miles north-west of central Los Angeles, at about 1pm last Wednesday.

The alarm was raised when the boat was overdue to return and the boy was found asleep and wearing a life jacket on the drifting vessel.

An adult-sized life jacket was found on board along with some of Rivera’s belongings.

A rescue mission was launched but the actress was nowhere to be found. The next day police said she was presumed dead.

The search involved helicopters, dog teams and divers, who were guided by sonar equipment dragged across the lake by boats.

Investigators stressed the difficulties presented by searching the lake, including strong currents, dangerous underwater debris and visibility of 1ft-2ft.

The actress earned significant success starring in Glee and the California-born star followed it up with her feature film debut in 2014 horror film At The Devil’s Door.

She later had a role in the Lifetime TV series Devious Maids.