GLEE actress Naya Rivera’s son said his mum “jumped into the water but didn’t come back up” in haunting words to cops as they searched for her.
The 33-year-old is feared dead after going missing on a lake – with her four-year-old son Josey found asleep and alone on a rented boat.
Authorities found the little boy shortly before 5pm on Wednesday at Lake Piru, Southern California, with sources telling TMZ Josey said that his mother had “jumped into the water but didn’t come back up”.
Divers and helicopters immediately started searching the lake but so far there has been no sign of the Glee star.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said at a Thursday morning press conference that this “may well be a case of drowning”.
“We’re continuing the search today for Naya Rivera today. We have a lot of assets helping with the search,” said Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Dyer.
“We have Ventura County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Ventura County Fire, Los Angeles County Dive Operations, Ventura County Aviation, and drones as well.
“We’re still hoping to find her alive. It’s a search and rescue mission. We’re searching the water and the shoreline.”
Dyer added that similar situations are a rarity, but they’ve happened before on the north end of the lake.
Deputies have closed off the lake to the public as they continue their search, which could stretch over “several days.”
The search for Naya Rivera will continue this morning at Lake Piru. The lake will be closed to the public while search operations continue. Dive teams from throughout the region will be assisting us through mutual aid. @VCAirUnit @Cal_OES @fillmoresheriff pic.twitter.com/q6LsHd8xaT
Naya’s life jacket was reportedly still in the boat and Josey was asleep when the vessel was first found.
Josey is now safe with family members. The boy’s father is Ryan Dorsey – who Naya divorced in 2018 and stars in the hit crime drama Ray Donovan.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department began searching for a presumed drowning victim after responding to a report of a boy left alone on a boat at around 4.48pm, they said in a press release.
They later tweeted: “The missing person at Lake Puru has been identified as Naya Rivera, 33, of Los Angeles. SAR operation will continue at first light.”
Divers searched the lake until nightfall, but were unable to find the actress, who 113 episodes of the hit musical series from 2009 to 2015.
It’s feared that her disappearance is yet another tragedy wrought by the “Glee curse”, as the show has seen ex-cast members die from drug overdoses and suicide.
Distraught fans tweeted for the Sheriff’s department to keep looking for Naya.
“Please don’t stop looking for her I beg you,” pleaded one user while another said: “Y’all need to be out on boats with flashlights!”
FOX11 in Los Angeles have reported that Naya’s car was found parked close to the boat rental company – with her handbag still inside.
According to reports, the local Sheriff has said that the star is “presumed dead”.
Lake Piru is one of two lakes in Ventura County that have a total of 42 miles of coastline.
But over the years there have been a number of drownings, making the beautiful lakes as hazardous as the ocean.
The lake holds deep columns of chilly water that can overwhelm people, the LA Times reports.
The cool temperatures, large waves and rip currents can all work in concert to rob even the strongest swimmer of energy.
Lifeguards do patrol a swim area at the lake three days a week, but many of the problems occur outside this small zone.
Strong winds on Lake Piru also often whip up waves that can rock a small boat enough to tip an unsteady fisherman into the water.
In a haunting final tweet, Naya had shared a photo of herself kissing Josey on social media, adding the caption: “Just the two of us” on Tuesday.
Less than a week ago, the Santana Lopez actress said that “tomorrow isn’t promised” when posting a selfie to Instagram.
Posing in a simple white shirt with natural make-up, Naya wrote: “No matter the year, circumstance, or strife’s, every day you’re alive is a blessing.
“Make the most of today and every day you are given. Tomorrow is not promised.”
Back in March, the Santa Clarita native shared a video of herself in the bath and at one point went underwater as the sounds of Charlotte Day Wilson’s song Work played in the background.
“One – ‘gravity keeps pulling me under, but the urge to breathe helps me stay afloat,'” she captioned the post.
In November 2017, Naya was arrested in Kanawha County, West Virginia and charged with domestic battery amid claims she had hit her then-husband Ryan in the head.
Local news station WSAZ-TV reported that the actress had been arrested after she attacked her husband while they were out for a walk.
Ryan is said to have handed over footage of the attack recorded on a mobile phone to police.
The news channel later released footage showing Naya in handcuffs appearing in court.
Shortly after the incident, the actress filed for divorce from her husband; the couple had previously filed for divorce in 2016, but called off the separation in October 2017.
In January 2018, TMZ reported that the domestic battery charge against the actress had been dismissed, after her estranged husband said he didn’t want prosecutors to proceed.
Naya married Ryan back in 2014, not long after the breakdown of her engagement to rapper Big Sean.
The couple had previously dated several years earlier.
Naya also dated her disgraced Glee co-star Mark Salling on-and-off for three years before splitting in 2010.
After Salling – who took his own life in 2018 aged 35 – was charged with having child abuse images in 2016, Naya revealed that she always thought there was something more going on with the actor.
She told Entertainment Tonight at the time: “He was always just a very dark soul to me.
“I always felt like there was something that he was wrestling with.”
She also said that Salling brutally dumped her following advice from his publicist that being single would help his image.
Naya was originally a child star, shooting to fame aged four in CBS sitcom The Royal Family.
Her next big break was in musical TV series Glee, which had huge success when it aired between 2009 and 2015.
However, the show has been hit with tragedy in the past, with star Cory Monteith found dead in a hotel room aged just 31 in 2013.
Cory’s official cause of death is listed as “mixed drug toxicity, involving intravenous heroin use combined with the ingestion of alcohol”.
It’s was noted at his inquest that Cory had a history of drug use with intermittent periods of rehabilitation and of abstinence from drugs.
The troubled actor had recently spent time in a rehab clinic for substance addiction prior to his death.