Naya Rivera: Former Glee star presumed dead - and police say body may never be found

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 06: Naya Rivera attends the Women's Guild Cedars-Sinai annual luncheon at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on November 06, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Former Glee star Naya Rivera is presumed dead after emergency teams said the effort to find her has now been classed as a "search and recovery operation".

The actress was reported missing on Wednesday after disappearing during a boating trip on Lake Piru in California with her four-year-old son Josey Hollis.

A Ventura County Sheriff spokesman said it may be some time before any body is found.

"If the body is entangled on something beneath the water, it may never come back up.

"There's no way to really say. We're putting our best foot forward to try and locate her, we're using all the assets that are available to us including technology like sonar."

The 33-year-old's boat was found drifting in the northern part of the lake, with her sleeping son on board. She was nowhere to be seen.

The lake is closed while the search is carried out; however, emergency services are battling difficult conditions.

Visibility during the daytime is about 8-10in, while sizeable debris, including trees, flow beneath the surface.

More than 100 rescuers are involved in the effort to find Rivera, with "multiple dive teams" searching the water while two helicopters continue to scour the waves from above.

Rivera rented a boat at about 1pm on Wednesday and spent the afternoon swimming with her son, police said. The child, who was wearing a life jacket, returned to the boat, while his mother did not.

The boy was found asleep on the boat after suspicions were raised when the rented boat was not returned on time.

Police said Rivera's purse, including ID, were on board, as well as a life jacket.

They have now released the 911 call raising the alarm.

The caller, a woman whose husband was one of the first people to find the child, mistakenly identified the four-year-old as a girl.

"The emergency is we found a little girl in a boat all by herself and her mom is nowhere to be found," the caller says.

Rivera is best known for playing high school cheerleader Santana Lopez on musical comedy series Glee from 2009-15.

The California-born star made her film debut in 2014 horror movie At The Devil's Door, and later had a role in the Lifetime TV series Devious Maids.

Rivera was engaged to rapper Big Sean in October 2013, but they ended their relationship in April the following year.

She then began dating actor Ryan Dorsey and they got married in Mexico in July 2014.

Josey was born in September 2015, but Rivera filed for divorce after two years of marriage.

Rivera later called off the separation, but the pair then finalised their divorce in June 2018.