Before she went missing, Naya Rivera took one final photo of her son on the boat she'd rented, and that picture may have showed her location. Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue team member Robert Inglis told Us Weekly that "there was a picture sent to a family member that showed the boy on the boat by a cove." He added that they have "found where that cove was."
Rivera was reported missing on Wednesday, after she rented a boat and took her 4-year-old son Josey out on Lake Piru in Ventura, California. The actress never returned, prompting concern. Her son was eventually found inside the boat, but Rivera never turned up. Authorities initially treated the situation as a missing person, but they have since re-framed the case as a recovery mission due to Rivera being presumed dead. The photo that was uncovered has apparently been crucial in helping the search teams figure out where her body may be located.
"We did send our dive members to those two locations and searched those extensively," Inglis told Us Weekly of the search team's exploring both the location where the boat was found and the location where the photo was taken. He then added that in many cases there are witnesses "who see someone jumping off a boat so we know which area to search and we can find the body more quickly. In this case, it really could be the whole lake. There are a lot of coves that have to be searched." He went on to explain that searching underwater can be difficult, even in the day, and stated that "if you have a watch and you hold it in front of your mask, you can’t even read the numbers."
Today's search for Naya Rivera has concluded. The operation will continue Monday morning. pic.twitter.com/YZ3TTqhOUI— Ventura Co. Sheriff (@VENTURASHERIFF) July 13, 2020
Inglis also commented on the land search authorities have done, saying, "As you get more north in the lake, there are steep hills and it’s covered with brush with bigger rocks." He added, "It would be very difficult to maneuver through that especially if you’re just wearing maybe a bathing suit." He then surmised that the most likely circumstance is that something happened when Rivera attempted to get back in the boat after swimming.
"What I suspect is that the winds kicked up," he said. "These pontoon boats are very light, and when you push them, it can get away from you. She might've tried to swim after the boat. But that's all speculation. Once we do locate her, that'll answer a lot more questions." Inglis concluded by saying he is "confident that we will locate her body."