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Body Found: Did a Photo Help Locate Naya Rivera?

Body Found: Did a Photo Help Locate Naya Rivera?

UPDATE: On Monday morning, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department shared a big update, tweeting, "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 pm at the lake."

Captain Eric Buschow later confirmed that the body was Rivera's. He said, "This is an area we've been searching very hard. I don't know what the depth is, where she was found, I'll have to get more details. We had boat crews out on the lake at first light this morning."

"This hits home for everybody involved. We're in the business of saving people... it's hard for everybody involved," Buschow continued. "Finding out she's missing and then this day-to-day, the wait and not knowing... hopefully, this provides some level of closure."

In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub expressed his confidence in the identification, based on "location of where the body was found, physical characteristics of the body, clothing found on the body and the physical condition of the body, as well as the absence of any other persons reported missing in the area."

The Ventura County Medical Examiner's office will confirm with the help of dental records.

Rivera's family was seen at the lake on Monday morning.

The search for Naya Rivera is still ongoing, but the search and rescue team may be getting closer to finding her.

Robert Inglis, a member of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team told Us Weekly, “There was a picture sent to a family member that showed the boy on the boat by a cove. We found where that cove was.”

Rivera took the photo 90 minutes to two hours before her son Josey was found alone on their rented pontoon boat in Lake Piru on Wednesday, July 8.

Inglis pointed out that the location where the photo was taken and the spot where the boat was found have been searched “extensively” by the dive team. He added, “In this case, it really could be the whole lake. There are a lot of coves that have to be searched.”

While the search has been expanded, the rescue team has been faced with dangerous conditions, including trees and brush that could trap them underwater.

Inglis also opened up on the poor visibility in the lake, saying, “If you have a watch and you hold it in front of your mask, you can’t even read the numbers.”

Despite the challenges, Inglis holds out hope that Rivera will be found, saying, “We are confident that we will locate her body.”

Over the weekend, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office released footage from the underwater search for Rivera's body. A team has been using sonar to help find points of interest before divers go down to investigate.

According to a spokesperson, the recovery mission “will continue through at least Tuesday.”

Aside from the lake, authorities have also searched lakeside cabins and the shoreline, but Inglis doesn’t believe Rivera made it to dry land. He explained, “As you get more north in the lake, there are steep hills and it’s covered with brush with bigger rocks. It would be very difficult to maneuver through that, especially if you’re just wearing maybe a bathing suit.”

As for his theory of what happened to Rivera, Inglis said, “What I suspect is that the winds kicked up. Those 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.”