Actress Naya Rivera is missing and presumed dead after after her four-year-old son, Josey, was found alone on a boat in California.
Rivera, who starred as Santana Lopez in the popular musical series Glee from 2009 to 2015, rented a pontoon boat on Lake Piru, California, on Wednesday afternoon with her son.
Three hours later, a passerby on another boat called the authorities after seeing the young boy alone on the boat. According to reports, he was asleep.
At the scene, police found Rivera’s car parked nearby on shore and her life jacket on board the boat.
According to TMZ, Josey told investigators that his mother jumped in the water and didn’t come back. The circumstances are still unclear though, and California police stressed that interrogating a toddler is ‘challenging’.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed last night that Rivera was the missing woman, and that despite helicopters and divers scouring the area until darkness, no trace of the actress was found. The search will resume in the morning.
Authorities believe Rivera to be ‘presumed drowned’, according to Captain Eric Buschow, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
“Indications are that we believe she did go in the lake. At this point it’s still a search and that’s what we know up to this point,” Buschow told reporters.
“The [son] said that he had been swimming with his mother and that she got back in the boat and her mum didn’t. ‘We know that the [son] had a life vest on, there was another adult life vest found on the boat. It’s somewhat challenging interviewing a three-year-old.”
“We’re going on the belief that she did go in the water, and we’ve not been able to locate her. This may well be a case of drowning.”
Celebrities took to social media last night, holding out hope for her safe return. Co-star Heather Morris wrote on social media: “We need all the prayers we can get to bring our Naya back to us… we need your love and light.”