The body of Glee star Naya Rivera was found on Monday at a Southern California lake, authorities said. Ventura County Sheriff's officials confirmed at an afternoon news conference that the body that search crews found floating in the northeast corner of Lake Piru earlier in the day was that of the 33-year-old Rivera.
The discovery came five days after Rivera disappeared on Lake Piru, where her son was found on July 8 asleep and alone on a rented pontoon boat, authorities said. Authorities said the following day that they believed Rivera had drowned, and they had shifted to working to find her body rather than find her alive.
According to the police working on Rivera's case, the actor died trying to save her son.
Rivera's son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, was found asleep and alone on the boat the duo had rented which led to the cops being alerted. The boy later told the police that after the two went swimming, Rivera pushed him into the boat but when he turned around to see her, she had disappeared underwater.
Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said during a press conference that Rivera had mustered enough energy to help her son, but not to save herself. The cops believe that the actor had been trapped by vegetation beneath the surface of the lake, which is why it took five days to spot her.
Rivera's untimely and tragic demise has sent shock waves around the world. The fact that the actor had died while trying to save her son was what broke her fans' hearts.
Heartbreaking to hear the police report confirming that they've found Naya Rivera. She used the last of her energy to save her son's life. She died a mother and a hero. RIP Naya. pic.twitter.com/rdF59SVcuz— Joe (@JoeSaunders) July 13, 2020
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/VzivZkiq0y— Muhammad Taqi (@IamTaqiZ) July 14, 2020
naya rivera's last moment on earth was protecting her son. she pushed him onto the boat but couldn't save herself. i'm heartbroken. pic.twitter.com/yEDGbaUT6y— jade ミ☆ (@cristinasoh) July 13, 2020
It appears that in her final moments, Naya used her last bit of strength to lift her son out of the water and onto the boat, possibly saving his life. Absolutely devastating. #NayaRivera— Derrick Levasseur (@DerrickL) July 13, 2020
Naya Rivera reportedly helped boost her son back into their boat before disappearing into the water at Lake Piru. pic.twitter.com/zzTBqCYkWy— The AHS Zone (@ahszone) July 13, 2020
Sheriff on death of Naya Rivera: “No foul play, and this was not a suicide.” According to Naya's son, they had both been swimming. She pushed him up on to the boat, then slipped down into the water and disappeared. pic.twitter.com/8YmKyLBV5F— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) July 13, 2020
naya saved josey. naya saved her 4 year old son.that's the image you should have.that's naya rivera. she's not what the media says.— ♕celeste (@DINAHPET5CH) July 13, 2020
Naya Rivera sacrificed her own life to save her son. There truly is no greater love than a mother's. Rest in peace, Naya. The world lost such an amazing soul. :dove_of_peace: pic.twitter.com/OmTImIofOG— PRINCESS (@pjibrinn) July 13, 2020
naya rivera died a selfless hero as she spent her final moments saving her son's life. she will not be forgotten. grateful to have witnessed her talent in the industry. may she rest in paradise and sending all my love to her family and friends :yellow_heart: pic.twitter.com/T2yQUR9WuT— ex. ²⁸ (@28tinytommo) July 13, 2020
Confirming it is speculation, officers suggest that Naya Rivera and her son both got into trouble in the water due to riptides, but she "mustered the energy" to get her son back on board.— Rebecca Lewis (@bexlewis361) July 13, 2020
Rivera played singing cheerleader Santana Lopez for six seasons on the Fox musical-comedy series Glee.
She is the third major cast member from the show to die in their 30s.
The confirmation of her death comes seven years to the day after co-star Cory Monteith died at 31 from a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin, with the series losing one of its leads while it was still on the air.