One of the rescue divers working on the search for missing actress Naya Rivera thinks she may have hit her head while diving from a boat. Rivera has not been seen since Wednesday afternoon when she rented a boat at Lake Piru to go swimming with her 4-year-old son Josey, who was found safely. The Ventura County Sheriff's Department is now in its fourth day of searching and said the former Glee star is presumed dead.
Robert Inglis, a veteran search and rescue diver, told the Daily Mail Rivera might have dived from her boat and hit her head on a branch, shrub, or rocks beneath the surface. He noted that the reservoir could be less shallow than a swimmer thinks. "People have broken their necks before," Inglis said. "It's happened in pools quite frequently; it can happen in lakes as well."
"If you go into some coves, you could have 3ft off bottom and not even see it until you jumped in," Inglis told the Daily Mail. He explained that some places "[like that] with the lake when you start to get more north because that's where the shallow part of the lake is. There's a lot of brush, you have these trees that are there and they do stick up."
Rivera was reported missing Wednesday afternoon when she did not return the boat she rented within three hours. Employees at the lake's concession stand found her boat, with Josey safely sleeping inside. Rivera, whose life jacket was on the boat, could not be found. Authorities have been searching ever since, with search teams from nearby counties joining Ventura County authorities in their search. On Friday night, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department shared a video from the underwater search, showing just how murky and trying to see it is.
Inglis said Rivera might have struggled with swimming due to the two-foot waves on Lake Piru with the high winds on Wednesday. "You should have a life vest when you're in the water," he told the Daily Mail. "The wind starts to bring up a lot of surf, one or two feet high. When you're not familiar with it, it can break on you and that can get tiresome." He added that there is an "underwater forest" at Lake Piru since it is a man-made reservoir and parts of it were once above water.
Ventura County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Kevin Donoghue agreed there is "definitely a possibility" Rivera hit her head, noting that it is easy to underestimate the dangers in the lake. However, he cautioned that it is impossible to know for sure until they find Rivera's body. "In this case, we don't know if Ms. Rivera had some sort of medical episode," he told the Daily Mail. "That's something we won't be able to learn until we find her and the medical examiner does his investigation." Rivera's family told police she was healthy when they last talked to her.