The 33-year-old woman disappeared after renting a boat on Lake Piru, northwest of Los Angeles, with her four-year-old son last Wednesday.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said he was “confident” on the body found Monday morning is that of the actress.
“There was no indication of foul play, no indication of suicide,” said Sheriff Bill Ayub.
Although official identification has not yet taken place, he said, based on the location of the body, physical characteristics and clothing and the fact that no one else has been reported missing. meant that the police were convinced it was Rivera’s body.
They said that the Lake Piru park guards found his body floating near the surface of the water in an area 35 to 60 feet deep.
Due to the body’s decay in the five days after Rivera’s disappearance, the body filled with gas and rose to the surface after probably being trapped in very heavy vegetation, added Sheriff Ayub.
Divers searched this area before Monday without finding it, he said.
The sheriff said his son Josey Hollis Dorsey told detectives that the pair went to swim and pushed him onto the bridge before he looked back to see her. disappear under the surface of the water.
He was discovered alone in the boat, asleep, wrapped in a towel and wearing a life jacket, by the owner of the boat rental company who was worried after their return when they were supposed to.
Josey told investigators that he and his mother went swimming and got back on the boat, but “his mom never got out of the water,” Sheriff Sergeant Kevin Donoghue said Sunday.
Sheriff Ayub said their theory is that the boat drifted while they were swimming and that it “has gathered enough energy to take her son, but not enough to run away.”
His body was flown 64 miles (64 km) from the coroner’s office in Ventura where an autopsy will be performed, authorities said.
The detectives narrowed the search area by talking to people who were on three other rental boats at the same time as Rivera, telling them where they saw her at what time.
Police also examined the background to the videos of family members who chatted with the actress on FaceTime while she was on the boat.
Local search teams were joined by nearby police and searched and rescued the day after Rivera’s disappearance, Sheriff Ayub saying they would have had trouble finding his body without all the help.
They used sonar devices attached to boats to scan the bottom of the lake, and police divers and dead dogs also participated, while helicopters searched from above.
Investigators had pointed out the many challenges posed by the research, including strong currents, dangerous underwater debris, including whole trees, and visibility from 1 ft to 2 ft.
Rivera played singer cheerleader Santana Lopez for six seasons on the musical television series Glee.
She is now the third Glee actress to die in her thirties.
Lead actor Cory Monteith died at the age of 31 of a toxic mixture of alcohol and heroin in 2013 – exactly seven years after the discovery of Rivera’s body.
In 2018, co-star Mark Salling, with whom Rivera previously dated, committed suicide at the age of 35 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.
Rivera got engaged to rapper Big Sean in 2013, but their relationship ended in 2014 before she started dating actor Ryan Dorsey and getting married in Mexico three months later.
They had their son in September 2015 before Rivera filed for divorce after two years of marriage, which was later canceled before their divorce was finalized in June 2018.