Naya Rivera autopsy report released, 'Glee' star listed as 'good swimmer'

Taryn Ryder
·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 mins read

New details surrounding Naya Rivera’s tragic death have emerged, two months after the Glee star accidentally drowned in Lake Piru, Calif. The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office released Rivera’s medical records on Friday, including autopsy, toxicology and investigative reports. It’s noted that Rivera, 33, knew “how to swim well” and reveals she had a history of vertigo.

Rivera’s mother, Yolanda, provided information to investigators after the actress went missing on July 8. According to the investigative report, Yolanda told detectives her daughter went to the lake to have a barbecue with her 4-year-old son, Josey, but ultimately decided to rent a pontoon boat.

“Yolanda stated that according to Josey, he and the decedent counted ‘1,2,3,’ and then jumped off the boat together,” the report reads. “Shortly after they jumped in the water, the decedent told Josey to get back on the boat. She helped him onto the boat and he then heard the decedent yell ‘help’ and she put her arm in the air. She then disappeared into the water.”

Investigators previously said Rivera’s last act was saving the life of her son over her own. Josey, who turns 5 next week, was found alone on the pontoon boat in a life jacket. A second life vest was found onboard as Rivera was not wearing one at the time of her death. One working theory was that the boat started to drift away while the two were in the water. According to the report, winds reached as high as 21 mph the afternoon she went missing.

Yolanda shared that her daughter was a “good swimmer” and was familiar with the lake. While Rivera had “no known medical conditions,” it’s revealed in the report that the actress recently had a sinus infection. It’s also noted she had “vertigo that would get worse when she was in the water.”

“The decedent would have vertigo to the point of vomiting, but she learned to control the symptoms with antihistamines. She had been treated at Cedars Sinai for the vertigo in the past,” the report reveals. Vertigo is the sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The report states that Rivera did not suffer any recent falls or injuries and that “she never had any suicidal ideation.” Rivera did not experience any symptoms of COVID-19 prior to her death.

The medical examiner previously said there was no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in Rivera’s death, which was confirmed by the toxicology report. The new report states that Rivera “was known to consume alcoholic beverages, smoke about a pack of cigarettes per week, and used marijuana by vaping, but she was not known to use any illicit substance.”

“Based on the autopsy findings, known circumstances surrounding the death, and absence of anatomic or toxicological explanation for the death, as currently understood, the cause of death is drowning, and the manner of death is accident,” the report states.

Rivera’s body was recovered on July 13. According to her death certificate, she died within minutes.

Tributes for Rivera have poured in online. One of the most moving remembrances came from her ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, who promised their son will grow up knowing “his momma loved him more than life.”

“Life is all about good times and bad times but with Josey it makes the bad a little less so because a part of you will always be with us,” the actor wrote in July. “He'll never forget where he came from. We miss you. We will always love you.”

Watch — Amber Riley’s touching tribute to Naya Rivera:

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