The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department began their search for the star on July 8 after another boater found Rivera’s son alone on a vessel she rented a few hours earlier. He told officials his mother went for a swim but never returned.
“Happening now: Search for possible drowning victim at Lake Piru,” tweeted the department, also confirming the Ventura County Air Unit, Fillmore Sheriffs department and SAR Dive Team were searching for the victim. Four hours later, they confirmed Rivera was the missing person, and announced they were suspending their search and rescue mission until “first light” on July 9.
The following day, the police department tweeted the search for Rivera was changed to a “recovery effort” because “there is a high likelihood that the singer drowned,” Captain Eric Buschow told In Touch. Later that day, the 911 call reporting Rivera missing was released to the public.
Later in the day, the 911 call reporting Rivera missing was released to the public. The caller can be heard saying they found the little boy on the boat alone but his mother was “nowhere to be found.”
The Ventura Sheriff’s department revealed they found an unidentified body on Monday, July 13. “Happening now: A body has been found at Lake Piru this morning. The recovery is in progress. A news conference will take place at 2 p.m. at the lake,” they tweeted.
Just days before her death, Rivera shared a message of hope and positivity on Instagram. “No matter the year, circumstance, or strifes, every day you’re alive is a blessing,” she wrote beside a glowing selfie on the social media site. “Make the most of today and every day you are given. Tomorrow is not promised.”
Rivera got her start in Hollywood as a child actress in projects including The Royal Family, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters and The Sinbad Show. She was a series regular on The Bernie Mac Show as Bernie’s niece Vanessa’s friend. Of course, her most famous role was that of Santana Lopez on Glee, which she portrayed during the entirety of the show, from its premiere in 2009 until its end in 2015. Her most recent project was Step Up: High Water, in which she played Collette Jones. The show began airing in 2018 and seems to have filmed episodes through 2021, according to IMDB.