During a press conference, Ventura County Sheriff’s officials confirmed that the body found in the lake was that of Naya Rivera
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 boat, 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 from 35 to 60 feet deep and with 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.
Authorities had said the day after Rivera went missing they believed she was dead and had shifted to working to locate her body rather than find her alive.
Investigators used FaceTime videos between Rivera and family members, as well as interviews with people on three other vessels on the lake that day, to determine which parts of the lake Rivera and her son had visited and focus their search.
Dozens of divers worked in the waters with little visibility, with help from sonar and robotic devices that combed the bottom of the lake and helicopters and drones searching from above.
“It has been an extremely difficult time for her family throughout this ordeal,” Ayub said. “We share in their grief.”
As previously reported authorities found the actress’ 4-year-old son Josey Hollis Dorsey sleeping alone onboard a rented pontoon last week. The child told authorities that his mom “jumped in the water but did not come back up.”
Variety reports that more than 100 people, including professional divers and law enforcement agents aided in the search for her body. The sheriff’s office previously said their attempts were unsuccessful due to dangerous conditions and poor visibility in the lake.
A body has been found at Lake Piru this morning. The recovery is in progress. There will be a news conference at 2 pm at the lake
— Ventura Co. Sheriff (@VENTURASHERIFF) July 13, 2020
BREAKING: Authorities have found ‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera’s body in Lake Piru. Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said there is no indication of foul play and no indication that it was a suicide pic.twitter.com/osIZfWG1x2
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 13, 2020