Amber Riley Defends 'Glee' Co-Star Lea Michele's Silence After Naya Rivera Disappearance

Amber Riley and Kevin McHale have spoken out on fellow Glee alum Naya Rivera's disappearance amid criticism directed towards former co-star Lea Michele, who has yet to address the tragedy publicly. As the search continued Sunday for Rivera, who played Santana Lopez, both Riley and McHale, who portrayed Mercedes Jones and Artie Abrams, respectively, took to social media to address her disappearance publicly for the first time themselves.

"Show some respect. All our energy is going toward helping find Naya and praying for her safe return and for her family," Riley tweeted on Sunday. "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."

McHale retweeted Riley’s message and added, "I cannot begin to understand what Naya’s family must be feeling. 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."

Rivera's on-screen wife, actress Heather Morris, has been the most vocal of the Glee cast about Rivera's disappearance, pleading with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter this weekend to allow her to assist with the search around Lake Piru, where Rivera went missing after renting a boat with her 4-year-old son on July 9. "I understand your team is doing EVERYTHING in their power, but we are feeling helpless, powerless and want to help in any way," Morris tweeted.


It appears that the search may be over, however, with the sheriff's office announcing that search teams found a body in the lake Monday morning. Police have yet to confirm the identity of the body found, but TMZ reported not long after the announcement was made that it was Rivera who was located.

Ahead of the discovery, Sgt. Shannon King told PEOPLE that all evidence points to Rivera having accidentally drowned in the lake while swimming during an outing with her son. "There’s no evidence to say she left the water. It appears to be 100 percent just a tragic drowning," King said. Lake Piru has had about a dozen drownings in the past two decades, according to the Los Angeles Times, as chilly temperatures, strong winds, murky waters and heavy vegetation makes for a dangerous environment for swimmers. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office has a press conference planned for 2 p.m. PT to address the latest case developments.