Naya Rivera’s body was found, her son watched her ‘disappear’ into the lake after she ‘mustered enough energy to get him back on the boat – but not enough to save herself’
Glee actress Naya Rivera ‘mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself’, officials say after her body was found in Lake Piru.
Last week, Naya Rivera went missing during a boat trip with her four-year-old son Josey. The boy was found alone on the boat the 33-year-old actress rent earlier the same day. Unfortunately, there was no sign of Rivera.
just the two of us pic.twitter.com/wCunAlGJ1B
— Naya Rivera (@NayaRivera) July 7, 2020
As Mail Online reports, on Monday afternoon, during a news conference, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said:
“She must have mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself.”
A source told the outlet it was ‘gut-wrenching’ and ‘devastating’ to witness the family’s grief.
Mr. Ayub added that after going for a swim, the Glee star managed to help her son get back on the boat, but when the little boy turned around, he saw his mom disappear into the water. Rivera’s body was found nearly a week after she went missing. Officials are ‘confident that the body we found is Naya Rivera’.
Furthermore, Mr. Ayub assured there was no indication of foul play or suicide attempt.
When the four-year-old was found alone on the boat, there was another, adult life jacket. The body police found in the lake wasn’t wearing one.
At the beginning of this week, a petition was started to ban swimming in these ‘dangerous waters’. While swimming in Lake Piru is allowed, this particular body of water is mainly used for watercraft recreation.
Later on Monday, Captain Eric Buschow confirmed that it was Rivera’s body and that her family had been informed. Capt. Buschow said:
“This hits home for everybody involved. We’re in the business of saving people… it’s hard for everybody involved. Finding out she’s missing and then this day to day, the wait and not knowing… hopefully this provides some level of closure.”
Naya Rivera’s family and some of her Glee co-stars gathered at Lake Piru on Monday morning.
They all held hands while waiting for more clarity on her tragic death from the authorities.
The body of the 33-year-old actress was found on July 13th – the seventh anniversary of her former Glee castmate Cory Monteith’s death.
the way naya and cory always took the time to meet fans and talk with them. they were so kindhearted and they loved and appreciated us so much pic.twitter.com/d2vStDvBuW
— aaliyah ミ☆ (@obrienzendaya) July 14, 2020
On Saturday, Rivera’s family was photographed running into the lake while search and rescue teams and sniffer dogs ransacked the area. At the time, Naya was still missing and her death was not yet confirmed. The next day, the family was seen assisting investigators in the search.
Police reported that the body will be taken back to the county’s medical examiner to be officially identified. After identifying the body, the examiner will perform an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
The family was stricken with grief when on the day Naya’s body was found they honed in on a cove where the actress had taken a photograph of Josey. The photo of her son was the last one she sent, only 90 minutes before the child was found alone on the boat.
According to previous police reports, as Rivera grew up nearby the lake, she was familiar with the area. She was even perceiving it as her ‘sanctuary’, even though its waters are known for rip currents and icy waters that can overpower swimmers.
Robert Inglis of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team told Us Weekly:
“There was a picture sent to a family member that showed the boy on the boat by a cove. We found where that cove was.”
According to Mr. Inglis, Rivera’s body was probably kicked up by the winds.
“Those pontoon boats are very light, and when you push them, it can get away from you. She might’ve tried to swim after the boat. But that’s all speculation. Once we do locate her, that’ll answer a lot more questions.”
On Sunday, after officials announced ‘nothing came’ of their search of cabins along the lake, Naya’s father, George Rivera, appeared to assist the investigation for his missing daughter. Search and rescue teams were scouring cabins on the banks of Lake Piru after social media users suggested Rivera could have ended up in one. Sadly, they didn’t find anything there. Sgt. Shannon King told People:
“They’re not occupied. Nothing came of it. There’s no evidence to say she left the water. It appears to be 100 percent just a tragic drowning.”
Naya Rivera’s Glee co-stars shared touching words on their social media accounts.
Glee castmate Jane Lynch posted an endearing message to Naya on Twitter:
Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.
— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) July 13, 2020
Kevin McHale tweeted: “My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you.”
My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you. pic.twitter.com/qX9t1Uhx01
— Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) July 14, 2020
In a heartbreaking message, co-star Harry Shum Jr. wrote:
I’m failing miserably to process this news. I always imagined old future senior moments where we would hear your infectious laughter down the hall, knowing that our funny bone was in for a treat… I admired you as I watched you nail multi page monologues that you learned moments before and pour your heart into every performance with an energy that had that snicks special written all over it…
You deserved more. I’m so sorry but you deserved more.”
— Harry Shum Jr (@HarryShumJr) July 14, 2020
Naya Rivera’s passing follows a dreadful arc of deaths of Glee actors.
View this post on Instagram
Naya 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. Our hearts are broken and our thoughts go out to her family, friends and young son.
In 2013, Cory Monteith was found dead after taking a fatal mix of alcohol and heroin. Five years later, Rivera’s ex-boyfriend Mark Salling killed himself after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. Fans theorize the show is being haunted by real-life tragedy.