Diver Max O’Brien is part of a team searching for “Glee” star Naya Rivera who went missing Wednesday afternoon at Lake Piru.
Ventura County Star
The search to find actress Naya Rivera in a Southern California lake resumed Sunday as authorities continued to check the water, surrounding buildings and shores.
In a tweet posted Sunday, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office shared it had resumed the search for Rivera, best known for her role as Santana Lopez on “Glee,” who is presumed dead after disappearing from a rented boat on a lake in Southern California Wednesday.
“In today’s search for Naya Rivera, cabins and outbuildings in the surrounding area will be checked once again, as well as the shoreline,” the announcement read. “This has been part of the ongoing search effort since her disappearance on Wednesday afternoon. Boat crews continue to scan the lake.
On Friday, due to murky waters, police switched search tactics and began using technology to search for Rivera including sonar. According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, no remains have been found yet.
Wind that kicked up Sunday afternoon presented problems for use of side-scan sonar in the lake, Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Shannon King said. Two volunteer teams from the Fillmore Search & Rescue unit were also conducting shoreline searches on foot and in pontoon boats, King said. Each team has seven members.
“Ideally, we’ll stay until the light fades,” King said of Sunday’s plans, unless operations were forced to wrap up earlier due to wind-related interference.
“Glee” stars spoke up on Twitter Sunday.
“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,” actor Kevin McHale wrote.
“All our energy is going toward helping find Naya and praying for her safe return and for her family,” Amber Riley tweeted Sunday. “This is very real and devastating.”
Anastasia Elyse Williams, an ABC producer, shared a photo from Lake Piru to Twitter Saturday morning of Rivera’s mom, Yolanda Rivera, and her brother, Mychal Rivera at the dock. Yolanda Rivera was kneeling with her arms outstretched to the lake.
Sgt. Marta Bugarin from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Rivera’s mother and brother visited the search site this morning.
“Our goal is to try and bring some closure to the family,” Bugarin said.
Search still on: For ‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera, believed to have drowned in a tragic accident
Police shared footage of the remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) on Twitter Friday, which they used to navigate Lake Piru’s low-visibility depths.
“Here’s the ROV used by @TulareSheriff in the search for Naya Rivera at Lake Piru today,” Ventura Co. Sheriff wrote. “This is one of many resources being used, along with side scan sonar, dogs, and divers.”
The 37-second video shows the ROV being dropped into the water by a cord.
The lake bed beneath the water has almost no visibility, which meant human divers had to basically search by feel. The side-scan sonar allows crews to target, and search for, objects with a specific size profile, Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Donoghue, a spokesman for the agency.
Authorities also shared a video clip of the footage procured by the ROV at 30 feet deep to illustrate the water’s cloudiness.
“Here’s an example of the underwater visibility at a 30-foot depth in Lake Piru,” Ventura Co. Sheriff wrote.
In the video, they point to a tree, which is partially visible in the water.
Investigators believe Rivera drowned in what appears to be a tragic accident, according to a statement released Thursday by Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Eric Buschow.
“We don’t know if she’s going to be found five minutes from now or five days from now,” Buschow said at a news conference Friday.
Rivera’s son told investigators that he and his mother had been swimming in the lake, and he got back in the boat, but Rivera did not, according to Buschow. The child is in the company of family.
“The interview with her son was key,” said Donoghue. “We received enough specific details from him to lead us to conclude that she disappeared in the water and did not come back.”
That’s why the search effort is now entirely in the water, he said. Authorities are not releasing additional details about their interview with the boy out of respect for the family, he said.
Sheriff’s officials investigating the incident say there was no evidence of foul play or any indication of a suicide. The death appears to be the result of an accident of some sort.
Contributing: Andrea Mandell, Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY; Gretchen Wenner, Jeremy Childs, Ventura County Star; the Associated Press
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