Close button
The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter WhatsApp
Everything you need to live well

Naya Rivera’s Autopsy Report Says She Cried For “Help” Before Drowning

Officials are looking for actress Naya Rivera after she rented a boat with her 4-year-old son in Lake Piru.(Taylor Jewell / Associated Press)

The autopsy report of late Glee star Naya Rivera who drowned in July this year has revealed that she called for help before she drowned.

The 33-year-old had gone boating with her 4-year-old son Josey at Lake Piru, a man-made reservoir in the Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County, California. on July 8.

The star is believed to have died by accidental drowning after Josey was found by himself on the boat.


A massive search for her body involving divers, patrol boats and helicopters was launched.

“Investigators believe Rivera drowned in what appears to be a tragic accident,” the sheriff’s office said.

“Rivera’s son told investigators that he and his mother had been swimming in the lake, and he got back in the boat, but Rivera did not,” a statement said.

Naya Rivera with her son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, in Westwood, Calif., last year.Credit…Gregg Deguire/Getty Images

Her body was later discovered on July 13, almost a week after she went missing.

Authorities said 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.

Details of her autopsy report that was shared reads:

“Shortly afterwards Rivera pushed the boy back onto the boat. When the child looked back, he saw his mother put her arm in the air and shout “help,” according to the report. Boat rental worker Bryan Tomaszewski went looking for the rented vessel when it was not returned on time and found Josey wrapped in a towel, wearing a life vest and asleep.”


The report adds:

“A spare adult-sized life jacket was also on the boat, along with Rivera’s possessions including her bag and mobile phone.”

Meanwhile, The Sun reports the star had alcohol and prescription drugs in her system when she died. The outlet reports the autopsy found: “a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.016.

“She also had levels of low levels of amphetamine, caffeine, diazepam, nordiazepam, phentermine.”

Naya had no known medical history: “other than vertigo and a recent sinus infection,” the report states.

According to the report, released by the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office, the award-winning actress had visited the lake on previous trips, and is described in the report of being a “good swimmer”.

She reportedly declined a life jacket when renting the boat on the tragic day but a member of staff ensured a life vest was available on the vessel for her.

The young mother and her son are reported to have jumped into the water “at an area known as Diablo Cove.”

It is also reported that the actress had initially planned to enjoy a BBQ at the lake, before changing her mind and opting to hire a boar, according to her mother, Yolanda.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 16, 2016 Actress Naya Rivera attends the 23rd Annual Race To Erase MS Gala in Beverly Hills California. – Rescuers on July 13, 2020 found a body at the California lake where “Glee” star Naya Rivera went missing last week. The Ventura County Sheriff’s office said “recovery is in progress” of the unidentified body, after a sixth day of searching for the US actress began again at first light.Rivera, 33, is believed to have accidentally drowned in Lake Piru after renting a boat at the camping and recreational hotspot with her four-year-old son, authorities said last week. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)

In a statement, Rivera’s family said at the time:

“We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week. While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honour her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit. Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister.”

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.”

Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421