The body of Glee star Naya Rivera was found on Monday at a Southern California lake, authorities said. Ventura County Sheriff’s officials confirmed at an afternoon news conference that the body search crews found floating in the northeast corner of Lake Piru earlier in the day was the 33-year-old actress. Her 4-year-old son told investigators that his mother boosted him back on to the deck of their rented boat before he looked back and saw her disappearing under the water. “She must have mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself,” Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said at a news conference. The boy, Josey Hollis Dorsey, was found asleep and alone in a life vest on the drifting pontoon boat about three hours after they launched on the lake, setting off a five-day search. The mother and son had gone swimming, which was permitted in that part of the lake, Ayub said. She was not wearing a life vest. Authorities believe that Rivera drowned accidentally, and that her body was most likely trapped in the vegetation under the lake for several days before floating to the top, Ayub said. The lake, an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, was searched by dozens of divers working in waters with little visibility, with help from sonar and robotic devices combing the bottom and helicopters and drones searching above. Divers had already thoroughly searched the area where she was eventually found, but shrubbery that had grown wildly in the area, which was recently dry, must have kept her hidden in the murky water. Family members chatted with Rivera via FaceTime when she was on the boat, and search crews watched those videos for clues to where she might have gone down, Ayub said. “It has been an extremely difficult time for her family throughout this ordeal,” Ayub said “We share in their grief.” The body was flown 64km (40 miles) to the coroner’s office in Ventura, where an autopsy would be conducted, Sheriff’s Captain Eric Buschow said. Rivera’s family has been notified of the discovery. “I can’t imagine what it’s like for her parents, her family,” Buschow said. “It takes an emotional toll on the search teams too.” Rivera played singing cheerleader Santana Lopez for six seasons on the Fox musical-comedy Glee . She is the third major cast member from the show to die in their 30s. Glee star Cory Monteith died of heroin, alcohol overdose Cory Monteith, one of the show’s leads, died at 31 in 2013 from a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin. And co-star Mark Salling, who Rivera dated at one point, killed himself in 2018 at age 35 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. Rivera had experience boating on the lake in Los Padres National Forest, authorities said. Surveillance video shows Rivera and her son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, leaving on the rented boat last Wednesday. When the boat failed to return, its vendor found the vessel drifting in the northern end of the lake with the boy asleep on board. Rivera’s purse and identification were found on the boat. The boy, Rivera’s son from her marriage to actor Ryan Dorsey, was safe and healthy and with family members, authorities said. The couple finalised their divorce in June 2018 after nearly four years of marriage. The most recent tweet on Rivera’s account, from July 7, read “just the two of us” along with a photo of her and her son. “Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were,” wrote Glee co-star Jane Lynch on Twitter. Steven Canals, who co-created and produced the FX television show Pose , tweeted that he was “heartbroken over all the stories that will remain untold”. Viola Davis sent her prayers to Rivera’s family and Kristin Chenoweth said: “Thank you for what you gave the world.” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that “as a Latina, it’s rare to have a rich, complex characters reflect us in media”. As Glee actress Naya Rivera is presumed dead, we can’t help but ask: is the cast of the US show cursed? Rivera began acting at a young age, but she rose to national attention playing a lesbian teen on Glee , which aired from 2009 until 2015 on Fox. She is survived by her parents, Yolanda and George; a younger brother, Mychal; a sister, Nickayla; and her 4-year-old son. “Naya Rivera was a fierce talent with so much more to do and this is such a terrible tragedy. We are forever grateful for the indelible contribution she made to Glee , from the first episode to the last,” said a statement from 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment. A native of Santa Clarita, California, Rivera began acting at 4, appearing in such series as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters and The Bernie Mac Show .