Naya Rivera May Have Sacrificed Her Own Life to Get Her 4-Year-Old Son Back on Their Boat

Alyssa Bailey
Photo credit: Gregg DeGuire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Gregg DeGuire - Getty Images

From ELLE

Glee actress Naya Rivera's body was found in Lake Piru, the Ventura Sheriff's Department confirmed in its press conference given today. Sheriff Bill Ayub detailed reporters on what their investigation revealed, including the heartbreaking detail that Rivera appeared to sacrifice her life to help her four-year-old son Josey get back in the pontoon boat they rented. Josey was found asleep and alone on the boat later in the afternoon. He had on a life jacket. No life jacket was found on Rivera's body, and an adult-sized jacket was one the boat.

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."

He then explained what they gathered from searching the area and speaking with Josey.

"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. 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 water craft 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."

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."

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