Local authorities are unsure if they’ll recover Naya Rivera’s remains at Lake Piru

Naya Rivera sweetly holds hands with her son as they go shopping

Naya Rivera went missing on Wednesday afternoon at Lake Piru, where she was spending the day with her son Josey. Naya rented a boat at the lake and she and her son planned to go swimming. He was found on the boat, wearing a life vest, with Naya nowhere to be seen. The search began immediately and they could not find her in what was left of the daylight hours on Wednesday. The local sheriff’s office said they would begin searching again during the daylight hours on Thursday. They still didn’t find her or her remains.

The search for Naya Rivera has shifted from a rescue mission to a recovery one, with the Glee actress presumed dead, authorities announced Thursday. As the search continues, police say they “don’t know” if the actress’ body will be recovered.

During a press conference on Thursday addressing Rivera’s disappearance, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Kevin Donoghue said: “If the body is entangled in something underneath the water it may never come up. We don’t know,” he added.

Due to the conditions of Lake Piru, Donoghue said the search for Rivera is “complicated.” He explained that at this time, the visibility of the lake “is not very good, it’s terrible.”

“There’s a lot of trees and plants and such that are under the water that can cause entanglement. Makes it unsafe for divers and a complicated search,” he said.

Ahead of the press conference, police told PEOPLE they are “confident” that Rivera is still in the water. At this time, there is no evidence that Rivera made it to shore — leading authorities to believe she has drowned as emergency responders have searched the “shoreline for any clues whatsoever, any personal items, any footprints, anything that would indicate that she made it out of the water and because of the absence of those clues, that is why the focus of the search right now is in the water,” Donoghue said.

“She could have suffered a medical episode. We just don’t know. We won’t know until we find her,” Donoghue told PEOPLE. Donoghue said that authorities are “checking her credit card statements” to make sure she hasn’t made any charges since her disappearance.

“We have detectives who are investigating that aspect as well. Checking her credit card statements making sure there are no charges anywhere. But based on the information we have so far, we are fairly confident the focus of our search being in the water,” Donoghue continued. “We want to bring closure for the family, so we really are putting our best effort forward.”

Donoghue explained that Rivera’s car was found at the scene and her “personal belongings were on the boat. Her purse and her ID,” he said.

Donoghue said a life jacket was also still on the boat when officials found her young son alone. However, he said: “We don’t know if that just meant it was hers or if that was an extra life vest on the boat. But seemingly, if she was somehow incapacitated and she had a life jacket, we would find her floating. Clearly, she is not.”

[From People Magazine]

This is so tragic. I have zero tolerance for conspiracies on this one, it honestly seems like the lake is very dangerous and Naya possibly went deeper than she intended to and likely got caught up in something in the water. Her poor child, and her poor ex-husband and her whole family. It’s so awful. As for the lake being dangerous, TMZ reports that 12,000 locals have signed a petition to add more warnings and regulations in and around Lake Piru. Naya will be the ninth drowning death at the lake since 1994. The lake constantly has low visibility and there’s tons of debris at the bottom of the lake. Locals want tourists to be fairly warned of the hazardous conditions.

Naya Rivera at the LA premiere of Roadside Attraction's "Judy"  in Beverly Hills

Naya Rivera returns for her car at the carwash after getting her nails done

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

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116 Responses to “Local authorities are unsure if they’ll recover Naya Rivera’s remains at Lake Piru”

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  1. Yellowrocket says:

    This has absolutely broken my heart. My son is a little bit younger but not by much and they have both been on my mind constantly since I heard the terrible news. You really just never know what is going to happen in this life, she just wanted to spend the day with her son doing something fun.
    That poor, poor woman.

    • Still_Sarah says:

      The rescuers talked about hoping for the best but planning for the worst. I’m sure she just wanted to give her son a lovely day on the water after a long quarantine. But sometimes you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time and the unfortunate circumstances find you. This is why people are told to “swim with a buddy”. 99% of the time, it doesn’t matter and everything is fine and you never know you were a foot away from dying. So very sad for a lovely young woman and her family.

    • clomo says:

      Wear your life jacket!

  2. Seraphina says:

    I just can’t understand how a mother takes her four year old on a lake and leaves him on a boat to go swimming – with no other adults around. And add to the fact she may not have been wearing a life jacket, it just makes no sense to me.
    Prayers to her family and loved ones. Especially her baby boy.

    • Yellowrocket says:

      I would imagine it was difficult to hold on to her son in the water when they were both wearing life jackets so she might have taken it off to have a safer grip on him whole they both went for a swim. She clearly adored her child I think any decisions she made would have been in his best interest and safety.

      • Mirage says:

        @the Hench. I’m sorry this has happened to you. Life can be so tough and then, only the present moment is guaranteed.

    • Seraphina says:

      @Yellowrocket, the fact that she and a 4 year old were alone in a boat, on a lake, gives me pause for concern. If anything were to happen to her, the child is rendered defenseless. Unfortunately we had that unfold here. I’m not saying that having a grown adult may have helped the situation, BUT when you go out in nature and it’s just you and a child, it’s not a wise choice.

      • smcollins says:

        Can we not do this this morning? Going straight in with questioning her choices, essentially assigning blame, isn’t a very compassionate way to view this. This was a tragic accident that occurred while a mother was just trying to have a fun day with her young son. Just stop.

      • greenmonster says:

        I agree with smcollins: can we please not do this? Basically blaming her is almost as bad as all the conspiracies people are throwing around. Naya wanted to have a nice day with her son and an accident occured. That is it. Not her fault. No one to blame – just a terrible accident.

      • MellyMel says:

        She’s a single mom. Plenty of single parents do things with their children with no other adults around. That’s just how it is. Stop this victim blaming & mom shaming. It’s disrespectful.

      • Seraphina says:

        I’m not assigning blame. And her choices were her own. But as another commenter stated, always swim with a buddy. One never knows what can happen. And that lake has a terrible history of drownings. The locals have been asking for signs to be put up and warn visitors. What is truly amazing is her son was found unharmed.

      • avidCBreader says:

        @seraphina and all others who are commenting without reading all the coverage of this story. Naya and her son were both swimming in the lake together, he had a life jacket on and she did not. Reports say he got back onto the boat, and his mother never did. She was a single mom who took her son out for a fun, summer day, this is tragic and so heartbreaking.

        This is not a time to pass any sort of judgement on Naya.

      • Kristen says:

        You are assigning blame – “gives me pause for concern,” “not a wise choice,” and “always swim with a buddy” are pretty unambiguous ways of saying that you think she brought this on herself. Plenty of people swim and boat by themselves or with a child. She felt confident enough to handle the boat, the people renting her the boat had no concerns, she kept her son in his lifejacket… this was just an unfortunate accident.

      • Esmom says:

        Seraphina, By that logic a parent should never drive their child anywhere alone, or take them on a bike or a walk.

      • Amy Too says:

        ETA: Looks like esmom had the same exact idea as me. I didn’t read down far enough.

        You could say the same thing about driving a car, or crossing the street, or going for a bike ride, or even just living alone together as a single parent and child. If anything were to happen to the adult in one of those situations, the child would also be alone. But we can’t expect single parents to just stop living their lives or doing anything that could possibly result in an accident because they’re the only parent supervising the child at that time. How many adults have successfully rented a boat and gone swimming with their child and survived? Probably many, many, many times more than have died by accident. Accidents happen. They’re not predictable, and you don’t know when they’re going to happen, and the majority of the time an accident does not occur.

      • Meg says:

        Also, have we forgotten that we’re in the midst of a pandemic? Having other people around isn’t necessarily safe!

      • Moxylady says:

        If her son fell in, she would have jumped in after him without a life jacket. Gotten him back on the boat and either the boat drifted or maybe she hit her head trying to pull herself up. There are so many variables.
        This is a horrific tragedy and is not her fault.

      • Prayer Warrior says:

        The DM went straight to slut-shaming her…all they are talking about is her personal relationships. And to go straight to mom-shaming her is not cool either. I mean, damn can we just not, please?
        A talented woman planned an outing with her baby boy and something went horribly wrong.
        My son’s dad passed when he was 20 months old. We have dogs. My baby was in the forest every single day of his life. He was in the car, on the lake, gone camping, in a daycare, home alone with me. I’d have died trying to save him. We just don’t know what happened…let’s mourn without judgement, please can we do that?

      • Sparkle says:

        I do think its fair to discuss responsible boat use here. Operating a boat is not the same as driving a car. You do not need to take boat driving lessons or get a boat drivers license- anyone with any (or lack there of) experience can go rent a bot. My family are avid boaters and we take young children. We always have one adult per child on the boat on and on the shore. A child could fall into the water in a split second.

        As far as responsible boat use, I also agree with the other posters- two adults is safer when a young child is on board. For Naya to operate the rental boat and watch the child is a lot of work. I may cut someone some slack on this IF they have lots of experience operating their own boat but Naya was renting an unfamiliar boat. She could have hired a babysitter to join her. It was risky boating behavior in my opinion. Thankfully the child survived. What a tragedy. I hope the boat rental company changes their policy and mandates two adults if a child is present to safeguard from incidents just like this. Be safe this summer

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        It was an accident!

        I’m sure she didn’t rent the boat while planning to leave her son with no mother.

        Imagine- just try to imagine- the absolute agony of her last moments knowing she wouldn’t be there for him anymore.

        It is fucking heartbreaking on so many levels.

      • Lady Keller says:

        This isn’t a good time to assign blame and try to shame a victim of a horrible accident. BUT, it is a good opportunity to remind people about water safety. I have an extended family who lives on a lake, my family spends a fair bit of time boating and we never forget how easily things can get out of hand. Going out in the water without another adult is not a safe choice. Always wear your life jacket even if you are a great swimmer. We have seen more than one strong swimmer get into trouble that could have been deadly if there weren’t others around to help. Stay safe everyone.

      • Severine says:

        @Seraphina – I agree with you. Boating alone with a 4 year old is not a wise choice. And for everyone saying it was an accident – how do you know it was an accident? Perhaps a suicide? A homicide? We really don’t know yet, do we? Either way, it is tragic.

      • Kristen says:

        @Severine – Well if it was suicide or homicide, then we especially don’t need the, “she shouldn’t have been boating with her child” comments, no?

        If this had happened to a guy who had taken his son out fishing, there would be zero comments like this. She’s only being blamed for being out in a boat with just her child because she’s a woman.

      • Severine says:

        @Kristen – I would have said exactly the same thing if this were a man. What I said is that no one knows what happened, so saying it was an accident as if this was a fact is inaccurate and pure speculation.

    • SamC says:

      Or she could have jumped in the water first with the idea her son would then jump/climb out to her. If she didn’t jump/dive far enough she could have easily hit her head on the boat, prop, etc. and gone under.

    • lucky says:

      I mean, I would totally do this, tell my kid to wait while I jump in so I could catch them when they jump. I am a really strong swimmer and honestly it would never occur to me that I could get hurt or caught on the bottom of a lake and die before tending to my child in this situation. This kind of parent shaming makes me CRAZY. We all know better after the fact, but no one operated from the stance that they might die at any moment. It like parents who ride down the slide with their kids- kids break their legs ALL THE TIME from this action and it is something that medical providers aren’t in the least bit surprised to see, but as parents we would never thing riding the slide with our kids would be dangerous. To suggest in any way from this story that she was being negligent in any way is so hurtful and mean. It is a way for you to tell yourself ‘that would never happen to me because i am so careful,’ but that is a lie, random horrible shit can happen and does happen to everybody.

      Phew. sorry for the rant.

      • Jellybean says:

        Well said! I nearly drowned as kid. We were playing in rough water and my sister made her move to get out 10 seconds before me; It was so easy she didn’t even look back to check on me. That 10 seconds took me into a dangerous situation and I was so lucky, if I had panicked I would have died 20m from my mum. We were all strong swimmers and we just didn’t see the danger. In fact nobody knew I had been in trouble and I didn’t tell anybody, I just lay down on my towel and pretended to fall asleep – lots of nightmares after that. It must have been 10 years or more before I told anyone.

      • Imogene says:

        I also almost drowned as a child with my dad because we were both taken by the under-toe. My dad’s reaction was to conserve his energy to help me stay afloat and the drowning was very silent. We were only saved because someone realized we were not ok and so a lifeguard came to help. You just don’t know how quickly it can happen to you and if we had both died, the idea that people would be blaming my dad or second guessing his choices is reprehensible. You just don’t know when it can happen to you.

      • Kebbie says:

        “It is a way for you to tell yourself ‘that would never happen to me because i am so careful,’ but that is a lie, random horrible shit can happen and does happen to everybody.”

        This. People do this to reassure and comfort themselves. It’s easier than accepting and acknowledging that any of us could die or suffer some terrible tragedy at any moment.

      • Sparkle says:

        Yeah but if you are going to rent a boat and take your 4 year old out on the lake alone, these are absolutely the thoughts you should be having. Do I know how to safely operate and manage the boat? Can I handle the boat in the case of an emergency? Is it safe to enter the water aLone with my child? What if something goes wrong, how can I get help? Is there cell service? Should I bring an adult? Is this safe? Can I do this responsibily and safely by myself with my child? Etc.

        Operating a boat is not table tennis and precautions and planning are required to do it safely to avoid incidents like this.

      • Lee13 says:

        “It is a way for you to tell yourself ‘that would never happen to me because i am so careful,’ but that is a lie, random horrible shit can happen and does happen to everybody.”

        100% this. It was in a totally different story/context, but my lifelong best friend took her life a year and a half ago and anytime I had to tell the story in the beginning, the first reaction was almost always “did you see it coming?”, which felt like salt in a wound. It was never asked in a way that offered some sort of compassion or condolences for me but rather in a way to say “what did you miss? how can I prevent myself from having to live the same horror?” Like, what answer would you like to hear? No, I didn’t have any idea? Yes, I figured this would happen and didn’t stop it? In times of tragedy, so many people say something to comfort themselves instead of the people directly affected.

      • Lee13 says:


        But what exactly is the point of those comments at this point? Do you think boating should be more strictly regulated? Should a license be required to ensure that renters have a base knowledge of safety precautions? Should it be required that 2 adults are present if a child under 12 is on board? Because those are things that could actually help. Otherwise, the comments essentially amount to “she should have known better, this could have been avoided if she’d done something different, I would never let that happen to me, etc”, and if you don’t see how insensitive and inappropriate that is I guess I don’t know what else to say.

      • Jane's Wasted Talent says:

        To help prevent future accidents? I have family who react similarly to tragedy because they are trying to wring a lesson from it that will help us, or others in the future. In this case, boat safety is too often neglected.

        I think people post comments like this for the same reasons- not to shame but to try to minimize risk for others. Especially when you keep reading comments that assert how this could happen to anyone- you feel an onus to share what you know to try to keep others safer.

    • Mirage says:

      I think this tendency to put the blame on Naya is a sort of way of rationalising the unfathomable. Because it is just truly heartbreaking to imagine that she should could have had such an accident.
      I only know this woman by name, but I have a 4 year old son and I just cannot imagine this happening. Poor woman, poor baby boy and poor family.

      • The Hench says:

        @Mirage – yes, that’s very insightful. We always want to believe that there is something we can do to render ourselves safe – and therefore that those who have tragedy befall them must have done something ‘wrong’ but the reality is that terrible things can and do happen out of the blue even when one follows all the rules. As Lucky says above ‘random, horrible sh*t can and does happen to anybody’. As the survivor (but severely disabled) of a bad accident myself, I know this to be all too sadly true.

    • Nicole says:

      Lake Piru is very close to her home town. I’m sure she felt comfortable doing a lot of what she did based on childhood experiences, regardless of some of the safety measures.

    • ME says:

      @ Seraphina

      Did you read the details of the case? They were both swimming in the water. The little boy said he got back on the boat and saw his mom wasn’t in the water anymore. She most likely got swept away. There are plenty of parents who are raising a child a lone due to divorce or death of a spouse, etc. Are they not allowed to take their kids anywhere then? Also, there are drownings that have occurred when both parents have been present too.

    • Mtec says:

      I can’t understand how someone can look at this situation and the first thing they do is assign blame/mom-shame. There was at least one drowning I heard about happening in that same lake where the person was wearing a life jacket. Sometimes you can do everything right, and tragedies just happen, and there’s no one to blame. She could have still drowned if there had been another adult there, or something terrible could have happened to her child even with multiple adults there, there’s also those possibilities, we see stories like that all the time. You just never know what can happen, so there’s no good use to assign blame here.

      • Seraphina says:

        Of course she could have drowned with another adult. I almost drowned as a child and thank God I was at a pool. I know all too well how accidents happen to the best of swimmers too. It’s just not smart to go without a friend, bottom line.

      • whateveryousay says:

        @seraphina you are awful.

      • Kkat says:

        @seraphina you really ARE awful.

    • Queen Meghan's Hand says:

      Note: we’re in the middle of a pandemic where social distancing is part of containing the disease. As a single mom, who was she quarantining with but her son?
      Sometimes assigning blame is a way of establishing that this situation could have been or can be controlled. This is simply a tragic accident. We should not assume that having another adult on the boat would have saved her.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Seraphina is banned for being an asshole. I can’t delete her comments because a lot of people responded. This poor woman died and she’s blaming her for taking her son out for a nice day.

  3. Alice says:

    This is so very sad. I also have a son just a few months younger and this story has just shaken me. I’m relieved that her son is okay but he will no doubt be traumatized and grow up without his mother. It’s heartbreaking. Poor Naya.

  4. TIFFANY says:

    So there have already been 8 deaths before Naya’s? And no warnings have been put up before that?

    Just. Wow.

    • SamC says:

      Not to minimize this situation, but almost every lake has drownings and from what I’ve read on this one, 9 drownings over the course 20 plus years is not to be unexpected. Anytime you are in water, lake, pond, river, ocean, etc., there is a risk.

      • Chaine says:

        ITA. Nine drownings in 26 years actually seems kind of low. I live near a large lake, there are multiple drownings there every year.

      • lucy2 says:

        I agree SamC. I live near the beach, and there’ s at least 1 drowning death here every year – usually people out swimming when the lifeguards are off duty, but almost every year something tragic happens. Or boat/jet skit accidents.

        This is just so sad. I was hoping there’d be some sign she’d made it to shore, but it sounds unlikely. Her poor child, I can’t imagine.

      • Betsy says:

        This. It’s a sad fact, but drownings and accidents occur in, on and near water all the frigging time. I don’t think alcohol is a factor in Naya’s death at all, but that’s a big factor in many (that’s how my cousin’s accident happened). And sometimes just poor visibility and accidents.

      • Michelle says:

        I have to agree too. I live near the coast and it is not unusual to hear of drownings unfortunately. There is also a rock quarry about an hour from here that thee is at least one drowning a year there. I am not sure if signs are posted there warning people about swimming but they obviously do not obey them. It is just a very sad situation.

      • Kebbie says:

        I’m in Houston and 9 seems incredibly low to me. We’ve got a place on Lake Conroe and there have already been two drownings there this year. I think there were two last year and that was one of the best years on record (as in, lowest number of drownings.) Lake Travis has numerous drownings every year too.

      • Lady D says:

        The leading cause of death for males between 15 -24 years is drowning. It takes out more young men that almost everything else combined. Apparently they become idiots around the water. I live and lived beside a river for the past 30+ years. I used to just hate it when my then teenaged son went swimming with his friends. Hated it.

    • Jules says:

      Drowning is right up there as one of the top leading causes of death due to accidents. This sounds like a tragic accident, there is always a risk with being in water.

  5. KellyRyan says:

    I’ve been an active scuba diver for over 20 years. One of the diver’s was interviewed and he commented visibility was extremely poor, (called it blind diving), water was cold, she may have been caught in a tree branch or shrub. Please, to anyone who might consider it, do not swim in CA lakes and when using boats take a friend.

    • schmootc says:

      It really sounds like if her remains don’t surface on their own, it’s going to be dumb luck if they find her.

  6. Tpoe says:

    Man that sucks. Moral of the story is don’t go swimming without a buddy because you never know what might happen. All it takes is a muscle cramp in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  7. TheOriginalMia says:

    So incredibly sad. My heart breaks for her little boy and all who loved her.

  8. Becks1 says:

    This is absolutely tragic. My guess is they were swimming, she put her son on the boat, and then maybe went for one more quick dive and hit her head or got entangled in something. Just awful. That poor boy.

  9. Chelly says:

    This poor child must have been terrified. Probably cried himself to sleep in that boat…I have an irrational fear of water, but this is probably going to cause him the most fear in life.

    • tina says:

      Actually it’s been reported he seems unaware and not upset. Thank God! He’s probably asking for her and assuming she will come back though which is incredibly sad.

    • Lady D says:

      I hope not. She obviously wanted him to enjoy the water and swimming.

  10. Case says:

    This is so sad. I was holding out hope they’d find she was able to make it to shore but was stranded or something.

    My grandmother used to tell the story of how she nearly drowned swimming in a local lake and how terrifying that experience was. Luckily someone saw her and rescued her, but these situations can so quickly turn tragic. Here Naya was trying to do something safe and socially distant with her son and this happened. Terrible.

  11. Nancypants says:

    Last month, 6 people drowned in Colorado in 1 week and two were soldiers at Ft. Carson.
    They were at several different lakes and even a reservoir.
    I’ve always been afraid of deep water and although I know how to swim, I don’t wanna.
    I do hope they are able to find her but it doesn’t look good.

  12. Ochar says:

    We may never know what exactly happened. It sounds like the anchor wasn’t down so if it was truly as simple as they went swimming & both were in the water at one point, without a life vest on she could have wasted all her energy getting her son back on the boat. With no anchor down the boat would have drifted while they swam & you don’t realize how far sometimes until you have to get back to it. A pontoon boat ladder is usual easy to lower even from the water, but without a life vest on she could have been exhausted & just struggling to get her son back on. Or maybe she hit a tree & fell in or had a medical episode, many things could look like mommy went swimming to a 4 year old and him getting back on the boat by himself without an anchor down would be very hard with a boat that was drifting. It’s all so horribly sad.

  13. Soupie says:

    I wish people would read the news reports. Her son said mommy did not make it back into the boat. So sad.

    As someone who grew up in the L.A. Basin I was never attracted to Lake Piru. It always creeped me out. Too remote and there were no amenities then. There are now, but it’s still dangerous. That scuba diver who said people shouldn’t swim in California lakes? He is correct. Yhere are no lifeguards! There aren’t even any lifeguards at most of the (crowded) beaches anymore!!

    • Lady D says:

      I live in BC, and I’ve been swimming in the lakes around here for decades. Not one of our lakes had a life guard at it, not one. They still don’t, but there are literally 50 lakes within 90 minutes of me, in the BC interior, lots are closer than that. We could never afford life guards. Only public pools have life guards here.

  14. Sandy123 says:

    If she had been caught under and struggling, speaking as a mother I can’t imagine what her last thoughts would have been like. She must have been desperate to get back to her child, scared for herself and for what would happen to her son if she didn’t make it back. Her heart must have just broken in those final moments, and that’s honestly horrible. I feel bad for both her and her family. What a tragedy.

    • Lady D says:

      Yes, that is the worst part of this. Knowing her desperation to get back to her son, and her terror/grief when she realized she couldn’t.

  15. February-Pisces says:

    A close family friend of mine died of drowning, he went missing after a night out when he walked home alone along the river. He was missing for about 3 years before they eventually found his body. No one will ever know what happened but him. So many questions go unanswered. But it took years to find his body, and now his family have finally laid him to rest. But those years when he was missing were awful as there was no closure. You couldn’t even say that he has died cos you just didn’t know. This is so sad for Naya’s family, I just hope that they do recover her body soon so her family don’t have to spend years waiting, not knowing where she is.

  16. ChillyWilly says:

    Poor Naya. Her poor son. This just breaks my heart.

  17. margie says:

    A woman I worked with, her husband died of an accidental drowning in a lake. He went to a state park to swim, he dove off a “cliff” (not that high of a cliff- 30-40 feet?), hit his head under water, and never came back up. His buddies didn’t realize it until many minutes later- too many to save him. This is to say- even with a boatload of other adults, accidents happen and awful things happen. And each time, it is just an all around tragedy. No one ever starts out doing these fun things with the slightest thought that so many things can go wrong, and will go wrong. She seemed like a devoted mother, and I have to think she’d have never done anything she thought would put her child in jeopardy. I hope they recover her, and I hope that her son eventually focuses on how much she loved him, and not this accident.

    • Lulu says:

      @Margie thank you for this. I wish more people understood how easily one can drown in any circumstances, and how most adults overestimate their own abilities. I’ve 4 kids and hosted no less than 6 pool parties over the years. I remember at one telling the kids not to go past 3 ft in the pool because there was no lifeguard and too many kids. One of the mom’s assured me of her son’s superior swimming skills and ignore my rules. Within 30 minutes she had to jump into the pool to save him because his little body got shocked from jumping into the deep end when his feet didn’t touch the floor. Another time I left my little in the hot tub for 6.7 seconds to grab my towel off a chair and my toddler fell off the pool steps and started drowning. Thank gawd I hadn’t gone inside the house. I’ve seen situations where adults get cramps, get drunk, or even just panic and drown on a crowded beach or tubing on a crowded lake. It can happen to anyone. Swimming is dangerous. Boating is dangerous. Surfing, snorkeling, riding in helicopters, etc…. What if she was in a life vest but dove down into tree branch?
      It’s a psychological survival tactic to tell ourselves this could’ve been prevented.

  18. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    My heart simply breaks here and I hope her her family gets the closure they deserve. My son just turned 5… *shudders*

  19. Amelie says:

    Ugh this is so tragic and I’m sure her son will remember this for the rest of his life, even if the memory fades over time. We’ll never truly know what happened but drownings happen in an instant and there is usually no warning. I just hope they can find her body so her family can get closure. This reminds me of the Kennedy family drowning that happened recently, a mom and young child that went kayaking to retrieve a toy ball. Their kayak got pushed too far out with the currents and both mother and son drowned.

  20. Lunasf17 says:

    So tragic! The thought of getting tangled in something while swimming is so horrifying and scary. I never even really considered that but that completely makes sense. Just awful.

  21. KL says:

    Natural bodies of water are so much more dangerous than swimming pools, and I feel like there’s no real education along those lines — instead there’s the general assumption that if nothing in the water can eat you, and there are no waves, it’s perfectly fine. Hell, millions of people on the beaches each year, and most of them don’t even know how to spot a riptide. I feel like people might be searching for “obvious” mistakes Rivera made, because they think lakes can’t be dangerous. Any body of water carries risk — even swimming pools — and open water especially.

    Anyway, this is heartbreaking.

  22. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t say this to assign blame but lets allow Ourselves to learn from this tragedy, this is why you HAVE to always wear a life jacket when boating. I am a funeral director and grew up on the lake wakeboarding and surfing and I cannot tell you how many freak accidents I have seen where young, healthy people dive in to the water or go under and just don’t come back up. The only thing they have in common is they are never wearing life jackets. There are so many things that can happen in a split second that can incapacitate you, another boat could drive by too fast or too close, and their wake could overwhelm you, cause you to swallow water and drown, or disorient you, and if you wear your life jacket you can at least stay floating so that someone can easily spot you.

  23. Smalltown Girl says:

    Drowning can happen fast. Yesterday I was playing in my parents pool with my daughter and I went under the water, trapped by her weight and couldn’t get myself out. Luckily my husband was there and it didn’t turn into a tragedy. But I am an incredibly strong swimmer, have been swimming all my life and was in a safe backyard pool and still was caught off guard. I do not blame Naya at all.

    • Joanna says:

      Oh my gosh, I’m glad you’re ok!

    • greenmonster says:

      I’m glad you are ok. Also, thank you for posting this. People talk about more education around the danger of swimming in lakes, when the simple fact is: if there is water, you can drown. Sea, lake, river, pool… it doesn’t matter. You can drown. People even drowned in their own bath tubes.

      • Soupie says:

        Thank you for saying that. I remember many years ago as a little kid when I was taking swimming lessons they told us you can drown in 1 inch of water. I’ve always remembered that.

  24. Lizzie says:

    This is so tragic. I loved her on Glee and am heartbroken for her family.

  25. Elizabeth says:

    So so sad for her and her little boy and those who loved her. I was hoping she might have survived somehow — irrational but I just hoped.

  26. Léna says:

    Drowning can happen in really small bodies of water, in the most unexpected moments. When I was 1 year old (I think) my dad told me I almost drowned when I was in a kiddy pool (maybe 10cm of water!). My head just fell right in. Hopefully my dad, who was reading a book, noticed he wasn’t hearing me play anymore and took me out.

    I almost saw a child drown at a public pool once. Terrifying for the kid and the dad.

    This situation is so sad all around, poor child.

  27. nicegirl says:

    I’m forever traumatized by the drowning loss of a friend during a lake swimming field trip in Kenwood, California in 1989. It was even a man made lake and we had several chaperones. We didn’t wear life jackets on water field trips back then- I cannot even remember them being available at Lake Ilsanjo, though the memories of barefoot running on the deer path rounding the lake screaming his name is easily remembered. I was water averse for years and do not like lakes. A freakazoid when any loved ones engage in water sports, recreational activities, etc.

    Poor Naya and darling Josey and family, this is devastating.

  28. HK9 says:

    A friend of mine drowned at 21, and when a mission goes from rescue to recovery it’s something you don’t forget. I feel for them because I’ve been there.

  29. Marjorie says:

    Rest in peace, beautiful and talented Naya.

  30. Gelyafey says:

    Beautiful Naya! This is so heartbreaking. I can’t believe there is shaming and conspiracies. I live in the Ozarks and our lakes are very similar to this one. There have been plenty of stories over the years of people drowning even with wearing a life jacket. That type of lakes are just dangerous no matter what the circumstance. This is a sad terrible tragedy. I keep hoping for good news.

  31. McMom says:

    I have no idea what happened and will not speculate – I am crushed for her little boy and her loved ones.

    This incident, the Kennedy granddaughter tragedy, and a few freak accidents that have happened near me have shown me just how cavalier I’ve been about my own water safety. I will not take it for granted anymore.

  32. Lucky says:

    When reading this story it was chilling to revisit most of my favorite childhood memories.
    I was raised in the Louisiana bayous, we had a pool in the back yard. My parents made sure we knew how to swim – we were drilled with water safety and NEVER allowed in the pool alone.
    However, my father – as the only adult – took us out into the bayous and the Gulf of Mexico SO MANY TIMES. I used to love being the only kid who got to go (if my sister or brother had plans or didn’t want to.) My dad would load up the boat, tell my mom where we were docking at and we would be gone the entire day. It never even dawned on me that if something would have happened to him I would have been a small child adrift somewhere unknown in the Louisiana bayou or In the enormity of The Gulf of Mexico.
    My dad is such a caution driven guy and I don’t think he ever thought of how our trips out onto the water were breaking his own rules. I certainly didn’t put it together until today. And I often took my small children to swim when I was the only adult home with them on a hot day.
    It’s such a tragedy because it’s a beautiful day and amazing intentions and it just went wrong somehow. 💔

  33. Sam the Pink says:

    I have a supervisor whose husband drowned many years ago. It wasn’t even anything IN the water. He was totally healthy but, for unknown reasons, had a seizure while swimming and could not swim back to shore. There are a thousand reasons as to why Naya couldn’t make it back, none of which implicate anything she did “wrong.”

    This just so, so sad. Her son will know eventually. Even if he doesn’t know now, he eventually will. My hope is that he holds onto the knowledge that his mom was happy, being out with her son. Her last day was a happy day because she was with him. And I hope his dad is able to shoulder what will be a very heavy burden and that the families rally around them.

    • North of Boston says:

      I have a friend whose husband died while wading into a stream/pond to retrieve his grandson’s model airplane that had flown off course into some trees on the other bank. It didn’t look risky, he thought he could just wade over to the other side, grab the plane out the the trees/shrubs and wade back. But something happened and he never made it across the water – whether it was the current or the depth or he got stuck in the mud or caught on something or had a health issue while he was in the water, we’ll never know. His step son had gone looking for the plane with him but didn’t go into the water and lost sight of him in the reeds and weeds and brush growing around the water. It took hours to find him downstream , and as in Naya’s case, a nice fun day out with family turned into a tragedy … just like that.

      It’s easy to play “what if …” and “well, they shouldn’t have … ” but life is full of risks we don’t see, that we coast by every day and never know it. This was an accident and a tragedy. No need for blame and second guessing, just compassion and sympathy for the family and the responders who now face the heartbreaking task of a recovery effort instead of a rescue, now face the fact that the *best* news they can deliver to the family is still heartbreaking bad news.

  34. Mariane says:

    This is such a heartbreaking story. I feel like it was an accident but the trolls and cruel tabloids are portraying her as a depressed abusive mother who put her son’s life in danger which is so infuriating. They are always quick to blame the women :(
    When my mother was younger, something like this happened to her friend who drowned whils out on summer holiday and what’s left of her remains was found days later unfortunately after crocodiles ate parts of her. It was so traumatic for her that we never went swimming growing up. I first went to the beach when I was 21!!

    • Jane's Wasted Talent says:

      ‘… the trolls and cruel tabloids are portraying her as a depressed abusive mother who put her son’s life in danger.’

      That is just sick.

  35. Alexandria says:

    I’ve always thought it is easy to drown. I never underestimate pools, and am paranoid with lakes and seas. I am short and always stick to the short end of the pool since I am a weak swimmer. If I snorkel I wear life jackets. The ocean really scares me. Maybe I have a problem.

    Anyway, this is just sad and I cannot imagine those moments when she was drowning and thinking of her son. I hope her family gets some closure and can take care of him well…this is really really rough. Too young…

    • Lady D says:

      I don’t think you have a problem, Alexandria, and you are certainly not alone. Millions and millions avoid the water.
      I’m the exact opposite. I first took swimming lessons at the Y in 1965, and I was hooked. I love being under the water. It’s cool, peaceful, serene and so soothing to me. It’s the best place to be, especially on hot days. I couldn’t imagine not having swimming in my life. One summer I had a cast that started at my armpit and stopped at the middle knuckles of my hand. That was a bad summer for me.

      • Alexandria says:

        Thanks Lady D. I’m too scared to try deep diving and will stick to snorkelling because seeing fishes do make me happy. Also I love cruises because I hate flying. I think I’m just paranoid as I got older. I’m not even a parent.

      • Lady D says:

        LOL, I’m so afraid of heights Alexandria, I literally won’t even stand on a kitchen chair. I absolutely think cruises are the way to go. I would give anything to go deep sea diving though. It would be the ultimate rush, better than roller coasters, skydiving, Everest or submarines.

    • North of Boston says:

      I don’t think you have a problem, I think it’s just that you understand the risk.

      Some friends of mine who live near me got a boat that they take out onto the ocean most weekends, and they invite me along now and then. While it’s a lot of fun, and it’s beautiful out there, the very first time they asked me aboard, before I went I got one of those life jackets that aren’t bulky, that auto-inflate when you hit water. Not that I expect to fall over, but I knew if I’m out on the ocean, I want to ALWAYS be wearing a life jacket (and the regular ones are too bulky) because one rogue wave or wake, one quick turn or someone pivoting with a boat hook and I could be overboard and the North Atlantic is nothing to mess around it.

      But I also could see how someone could focus on keeping their kid safe, and be on a body of water they’ve been to a million times and wind up in trouble in a heartbeat – drifting boat, a wake or cramp or getting caught in a snag, with no chance for a second chance. It’s heartbreaking.

    • Marie says:

      Same here, short and a weak swimmer. I LOVE swimming, but I always make sure I stay in the shallow water even if everybody else makes fun of me.

  36. Mina_Esq says:

    This is so very sad. I hate the mom-shaming. We live in Great Lakes country and drownings happen all the time. One of my best friends drowned last summer in front of her own cottage, with her husband steps away from the water. Accidents happen, water is dangerous. This poor woman.

  37. nicole says:

    Tragic. :(

  38. Charfromdarock says:

    I don’t know this woman but I am sure she just wanted to have a fun day with her kid. I hope he is surrounded by love now and as he grows up. I hope he knows how much his Mom loved him and that he is able to retain some memories of her.

    I spent a lot of time working in marine SAR. Water is dangerous. Full stop. You can do everything right and everything can still go wrong whether you are swimming in a lake or working on a supertanker.

    This is not a judgment but as a poster said above we can learn from this tragedy. Please, please, please celebitches wear your life jackets. Make sure they are still valid ( they expire) and are the right size. The Red Cross even loans them out, at least they do in Canada.

    Know the marine forecast. Know the local conditions. I’ve seen far too many responses turn from rescue to recovery because things go wrong so quickly.

  39. Julie Taylor says:

    There’s been a lot of talk on here regarding water safety and whether Naya was responsible for this accident or not. I won’t say that she was responsible, but it did get me thinking sort of a morbid thing; this group has established that drowning can happen even with a life jacket on, but perhaps we should be thinking about lifejackets as a tool to locate our bodies should anything go wrong. I have a friend who dives and he always has this inflatable ball thing that floats on the surface of the water above him that’s connected so that, should he drown while diving, he’s easy to find. I think I’ll try to start remembering that every time I try to get away without wearing a life jacket (I hate them – so stinky), that way my family won’t have to wonder for endless days what happened if I have a water accident.

  40. HeyJude says:

    This is an unfortunate reminder that you should never go boating alone ever. I’m not sure if everyone who doesn’t group up on water knows that so it’s worth mentioning. Whether it’s ocean, river, lake or kayak, row boat pontoon, speedboat. You should always have a boating buddy of adult age for safety’s sake.

    And remember even if the water looks safe and placid from up above, there’s always tons of stuff going on underneath the surface. Whirlpools, currents, debris etc.

  41. Mez says:

    And it’s another outrage pile on. Does it ever end?

  42. Marie says:

    It’s also eerie to me, that from a relatively small group of people three are now dead (with the added horrific child pornopgraphy)…is this normal? If you think of groups of people…I mean somebody always dies…but this seems a lot.

  43. Joanna says:

    Such a sad story. Poor kid. My condolences to Naya’s family and friends

  44. I’ve saved two people from drowning. It’s not screaming like you see in movies. Drowning is quick and usually silent.

  45. JRenee says:

    Horribly tragic and sad.
    I pray that her baby boy is being loved on on the most special way and he doesn’t remember this tragedy as he ages.
    I hope she’s recovered and more signage is added..
    Very sad

  46. Laura says:

    I almost drowned in a river when I was 6. I was already a strong swimmer (my parents were ‘swimming from infancy’ parents, and I’m very grateful), but I got caught in an undercurrent that pulled me under. I even remember my mom’s face as she struggled to pull me out-she thought I was going to die that day. I was lucky. Water is unpredictable and shit happens.
    This is such a sad story. So sad for her and her baby boy. I’ve read that there is brush in that lake that can hold you down even if you have a life vest. If anything, hopefully this will inspire local authorities to put up warning signs.

  47. Hannah says:

    Shattered :’( I think the worst part is the not knowing. At least with a body, there is closure. Like this, there is always that devastating feeling of *maybe* she survived. You never give up hoping. That image of her Mum on the sand banks is going to haunt me forever. There is no greater evil for a parent than the loss of a child.

  48. Dee Kay says:

    Naya Rivera was my favorite actor on Glee. Rest in peace, Naya. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us while you were here.