Naya Rivera: Medical Examiner to Perform Autopsy After Body Found in Lake Piru

Naya Rivera's body was found in Lake Piru in Ventura, California, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub confirmed in a news conference Monday afternoon. The body was found in the northeastern part of the lake, in the same area where her boat was discovered on Wednesday. The next step is for a full autopsy performed by the medical examiner, Ayub said. Authorities do not suspect foul play and have seen no evidence this was a suicide.

Ayub told reporters there will be a "detailed examination" of the body, which has not taken place yet. "The initial examination from the medical examiner's office does not reveal anything that makes us suspect there's any sort of foul play," Ayab explained. The body has already been taken to the medical examiner's office in Ventura, where dental records will be used to positively identify the body. As of now, they have identified the body as Rivera's based on what authorities know of her disappearance and that she was the only reported missing person in the area where she was last seen.

Rivera disappeared on Wednesday afternoon and was last seen renting a boat with her 4-year-old son Josey. Employees at the lake found her boat in the northern part of the lake after she was late to return the vessel. They only found Josey asleep inside, wearing his life jacket. Rivera's life jacket was also in the boat.

Ayab said Rivera's body might have floated to the surface on Monday due to decomposition. The body was found at 9:10 a.m. It was challenging to find the body earlier due to the shrubbery and trees underwater at the reservoir. "That was an empty canyon, that tributary into the lake itself, so you had a lot of growth that sprung up there," Ayab said. "When the lake refilled with water, that growth remained and made it very, very difficult for our divers, for our sonar operators, for our searchers to search that area." Even with the entire dive team searching that area on Sunday, they could not find the body until it rose to the surface. Ayab said the body looked like it had been in the water for "several days."


Rivera became a household name in 2009 when she starred on Glee as Santana Lopez. She appeared in all six seasons of the show, which ended in 2015. She most recently starred in the YouTube series Step Up: High Water. She is survived by Josey, her ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, her parents, brother Mychal Rivera and sister Nickayla Rivera.