Naya Rivera Saved Her Son Before She Drowned, Sheriff Says
Last week “Glee” star Naya Rivera went missing while boating in Lake Piru with her 4-year-old son.
The 33-year-old actress had been presumed dead when she went missing last Wednesday.
Her body was found floating in the northeast area of the lake yesterday, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said.
The discovery is coming almost a week after she went missing, search teams from agencies throughout the state had scoured the lake, using helicopters, A.T.V.s, boats, drones, dogs and diving gear.
On the day Rivera went missing, she had rented a pontoon and gone o the water with her son according to a security video released by the sheriff’s office.
The video showed them arriving at the dock in a dark S.U.V., walking to the marina and then heading north on the boat on the lake.
Workers from the dock began searching for the 20-foot boat when it did not return on time on the afternoon of July 8.
Another boater found Rivera’s son asleep on the boat alone wearing a life jacket with a second life jacket also found in the boat at around 4.pm that day.
Her son told police they had gone swimming but the actress never returned.
It is believed that she drowned in a “tragic accident”.
Authorities say that the actress’s body was most likely trapped in the vegetation under the lake for several days before floating to the top.
“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 the news conference.
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 authorities said that Ms. Rivera had previous experience boating on the lake.
Rivera began her acting career at age four when she made her debut on the 1991 CBS sitcom “The Royal Family.”
The late star is best known for playing the cheerleader Santana Lopez in the hit series “Glee,” which ran on Fox from 2009 to 2015.
She also had a number of other TV appearances including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and “Family Matters.”
In 2014, Rivera starred in the horror film At the Devil’s Door.
In that same year, she married actor Ryan Dorsey.
The couple welcomed their son, Josey Hollis, in 2015 and they split in 2018.
The day before her disappearance, she shared a photo with her son with the caption “just the two of us.”