Exhausted Naya Rivera struggled to save son as boat drifted — but couldn’t save herself
Before disappearing in a California lake, “Glee” actress Naya Rivera used her last bits of strength to get her 4-year-old son onto their drifting boat, but didn’t have the energy to save herself, officials said Monday.
“We believe it was mid-afternoon when she went swimming, the idea being, perhaps, that the boat began drifting… and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat but not enough to save herself,” Ventura County Sheriff William Ayub told reporters at a press conference held after the discovery of her body Monday.
He added that “[Her son Josey] described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.”
The “Glee” actress’ body was found floating near the surface in the northeastern corner of Lake Piru, about six days after she went missing during a trip with her 4-year-old, Ayub said.
“We are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera,” Ayub said at a press conference, citing the location and clothing of the body and the fact that no one else has been reported missing in the lake.
“There are a lot of currents on the lake that appear particularly in the afternoon,” Ayub said.
The boy, Rivera’s son from her marriage to actor Ryan Dorsey, was found asleep on the pontoon, wrapped in a towel and wearing his life jacket, on Wednesday afternoon.
Authorities have said they believe Rivera drowned.
She was found near where the pair had gone swimming, in an area of the lake with 35 to 60-foot deep waters and heavy brush and trees that rise up nearly 20-feet from the lake bed.
“We believe she was concealed within the shrubbery of some of the floorbed of the lake” before the body rose to the surface, Ayub said.
The remains looked like they had been in the water for several days and did not have a life jacket. An adult-size life vest was found on the boat.
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