"We believe that she mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself," said Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub.
Five days after disappearing during a trip to a California lake with her 4-year-old son, Glee star Naya Rivera has been confirmed dead. According to PEOPLE, she was 33-years-old. "We are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera," Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said in a news conference Monday. "It has been an extremely difficult time for her family throughout this ordeal ... our hearts are with them and we share in their grief for Naya’s loss." The sheriff also added that there is no evidence of suicide or foul play, thus making it an accidental death. On Wednesday, Rivera was reported missing.
Naya used her last breath, her last bit of energy, her last few moments alive to save Josey. She saved his life & died just as an amazing mother & the hero she was every single day to that little boy. #nayarivera The whole world needs to know her love for this son of hers. pic.twitter.com/mnrNE40mNd— แมลงเล่นไฟ🦋🔥 (@atirak506) July 14, 2020
She and her 4-year-old son, Josey Dorsey, rented a pontoon boat during an outing to Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. "He and Naya swam in the lake together," Ayub said. "It was during that time that her son described being helped onto the boat by Naya. ... He told investigators he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water." It looks like her motherly instincts kicked in and she knew she had to save her son even if she couldn't save herself. Later, he added, "We believe that she mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself."
We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of the young & bright "Glee" star & NYFA Alum, Naya Rivera. All of us here at NYFA send their love to her family and her young son.— New York Film Academy (@NYFA) July 14, 2020
Rest in peace, Naya 🕊️ You will be forever missed. pic.twitter.com/wmF47cqso5
According to ELLE, Ayub said that Rivera was "found in a northeastern portion of the lake, near the surface of the water. The depth of the water in that area is between 35 and 60 feet deep and there’s heavy brush and trees on the lake bed there." Here's exactly what happened: "On July 8, 2020, last Wednesday, Naya Rivera came to Lake Piru and rented a pontoon boat at the dock," Ayub said. "She and her four-year-old son left the dock at approximately 1 PM and headed toward the northern portion of the lake. We identified specific areas they visited that day by looking at the shoreline features of the background of the FaceTime videos where she was chatting with family members while out on the lake."
Wow.... Naya was such a kind person and I didn’t have to know her personally to see that. Rest In Peace Naya Rivera 🤍 pic.twitter.com/bYdVXRFUZo— i am a barb i am a nicki minaj fan account (@anxieetea) July 14, 2020
"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point during their journey. It was during that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water. Naya’s son was later found asleep on the boat which was adrift in the northern portion of the lake known as the Narrows when a leasing agent searched for the watercraft which was overdue for return. The young boy was wearing a life vest when he was found and he was wrapped in a towel. An adult-sized life vest was found on the boat." Rivera's body didn't have a life jacket on.
I never met Naya Rivera but was a huge fan of her in Glee. What she did on that show was so incredibly important. I can’t even imagine the pain of those who knew and loved her. My thoughts are with them... especially her little boy. 😢 #RIPNayaRivera— Nathalie Emmanuel (@missnemmanuel) July 14, 2020
When asked by a reporter why Rivera was able to get her son back on the boat but not herself, the sheriff said, "It would be speculation to say at this point [how her son got on the boat but not herself]. There are a lot of currents on the lake that appear particularly in the afternoon. We believe it was mid-afternoon when she disappeared, the idea being that perhaps the boat started drifting. It was unanchored. And she mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat but not enough to save herself. The son was in the water, yes." Authorities, with the help of dive teams and sonar technology, searched the waters for days, but it was difficult for them to search because the waters were very murky.
This made it “very, very difficult” for divers to find the body, added Ayub. He further explained that Rivera "was concealed in some of the shrubbery on the floor bed of the lake." On Monday morning, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office tweeted that a body had been found in the lake and confirmed that it was Naya Rivera. The Tweet read: The missing person at Lake Puru has been identified as Naya Rivera, 33, of Los Angeles. SAR operation will continue at first light. @VCAirUnit @fillmoresheriff @Cal_OES. Over the years, Lake Piru has seen several incidents of drowning. Rivera's death has prompted a petition calling for signs warning swimmers of its dangerous conditions.
“Glee” cast shout out “Say her name - Naya” at Lake Piru this morning as Ventura County Sheriff Search & Rescue divers locate 33-year old actress Naya Rivera who disappeared 5 days ago. Her Mother Yolanda Rivera was taken by boat to the location where divers discovered her body pic.twitter.com/oCV5uNSQaZ— Al Seib (@AlSeibPhoto) July 14, 2020
Ayub noted that "swimming is allowed." The petition reads: Naya Rivera is not the first, nor the last to go missing at Lake Piru. Lake Piru is a very deep lake with very bad whirlpools, people have been asking for years for the city to put up warning signs for swimmers. Locals of Ventura County don’t go to Lake Piru for this reason! Tourists have no idea what they’re getting into. Lake Piru needs signs. We’re tired of waiting. We need justice for all those who got lost at Lake Piru. Eerily enough, Rivera shared a tweet with a rather cryptic message, talking about how tomorrow is now a promise. She wrote: no matter the year, circumstance, or strifes everyday you're alive is a blessing. make the most of today and every day you are given. tomorrow is not promised.