Naya Rivera’s remains have been found & her last act was likely saving her son

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Naya Rivera’s remains have been found, five days after she went missing at Lake Piru outside of LA last Wednesday. The local authorities called in divers and searchers and for five days, they couldn’t find anything, especially because of the murky water. Then yesterday, the divers finally found her remains in the water. The local authorities have a theory about what exactly happened and it is just heartbreaking:

Naya Rivera’s final moments were spent saving the person she loved most, according to investigators. On Monday, the former Glee star’s body was found five days after she went missing during a boating trip at Lake Piru in Ventura County, California, with her 4-year-old son, Josey, whom she shares with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub recounted what Josey told authorities about the tragic accident.

“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,” the sheriff said. “He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.” Ayub said that “there are a lot of currents on the lake that appear particularly in the afternoon” and that authorities believe she disappeared in the “mid-afternoon.”

“The idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting, it was unanchored, and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself,” Ayub said.

The sheriff added that there is no evidence of foul play or suicide. An autopsy will be performed at the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office, and Rivera will be officially identified based on dental records.

[From People]

Oh God, that is just so sad. Poor Naya. Poor Josey. There’s been a lot of talk about the currents in this lake in particular, and how swimmers at the lake have described how dangerous the water can be at times. Naya was a healthy young woman – there’s every reason to believe that even a healthy, strong swimmer would have been carried away or carried down by a current. And the idea that her last act was saving her son… I’m crying. Also: they found Naya’s remains on the seventh anniversary of Cory Monteith’s passing.

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91 Responses to “Naya Rivera’s remains have been found & her last act was likely saving her son”

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  1. Mona says:

    Poor baby :( when things like this happen you realize just how fragile life is. I hope the family finds peace now that they have her back.

  2. Priscila Bezerra-Fischer says:

    I think the only saving grace of this story is that her son will grow up knowing his mother gave up her life to save him.

    • Redgrl says:

      I don’t think that’s a saving grace for him. He will have awful memories of her death and likely survivor’s guilt his whole life.

      • Noki says:

        At four years old at least I hope he wont have such vivid memories over time,I think still too young to be traumatized long term.

      • Sigmund says:

        Agreed, I don’t see that as a saving grace either. The whole situation is a tragedy. It could have been far worse, but it’s still incredibly sad and I’d imagine Josey will need a lot of therapy growing up to cope with this.

      • Redgrl says:

        @noki – sadly children that age can & do remember severe trauma – have seen this first hand in numerous child physical and sexual abuse prosecutions.

      • Tweetime says:

        Yeah, I think this is only a saving grace if you’re a parent. I would give my life up to save my daughter (although I would be devastated to leave her motherless), but before I had her I don’t think I would have been able to understand that that’s something most parents would do without question and without regret. There would be a lotttt of guilt in that for a kid or teen.

      • Esmom says:

        Yes. A friend of mine died in a boating accident while shielding his daughter from the impact. Years later, she is crippled by trauma and anxiety. It is not something that will likely fade away easily.

      • Dani says:

        Noki, I was mauled by a Rottweiler at four years old. I can still remember it, have a scar and am petrified of any dog I come next to. Kids definitely can be impacted by trauma at such a young age, unfortunately.

      • Priscila says:

        Never meant this is not a trauma for him, just that the memory of his mother will be forever cherished as she tried her best to be a good mum and to literally save his life.

      • Allie says:

        I was bitten in the face by my grandma’s Coker Spaniel at four years old. I remember the situation to this day. I am not traumatised by it at all but it is one of my first childhood memories. The other ones all include pain & accidents, too.

    • Jules says:

      This is just… a very bizarre thing to say.

      • Priscila says:

        I dont think it is, obviously. I am not negating the trauma this boy has experienced -how could anyone?

        But I believe this last act of mother´s love will leave a great impact in his life and as he comes into adulthood and starts to deal with it in a more mature way, I hope he will come to understand and appreciate the fact that the last thing on his mother´s mind was that she managed to save her boy,

        The only bad thing I have to say about commenting here is that some commenters do seem to police each other to such an extreme that trying to see the little, tiniest positive one person could get from a terrible situation is labeled as a bizarre thing to say,

        But fair enough.

      • Jules says:


      • Ella says:

        I don’t understand why it’s “bizarre” or “clueless” to say a child growing up knowing a parent loved them so much they died saving them is a positive aspect of an otherwise devastating event. It’s certainly no less inappropriate than diagnosing a small child none of us knows personally with lifelong psychiatric problems, but I guess people prefer the melodrama of unmitigated tragedy.

    • Persistent Cat says:

      That’s not a saving grace. That poor guy will grow up without his mom.

    • Joanna says:

      You guys, Priscilla is acknowledging the obvious tragedy here. She said the “ONLY” saving grace. You guys are being too hard on her. He’s alive, that’s a good thing. Bad, losing mom, but he knows his mom loved him, enough to give up her life for him.

      • Kristin says:

        Totally agree. I love this site but I’m getting a little tired of how literal we as commentators like to hyper-analyze and pick apart every tiny thing another person says. I get what Priscilla is saying here. Let’s not invent reasons to jump up and down on each other guys!

      • ADS says:

        I completely agree. And in fact I was thinking the same before I even saw Priscilla’s comment.

        Initially a lot of people were speculating that Naya ended her life. Her son will now know that she did not in fact do that and that it was a tragic accident, during which she managed to save him. That is a less awful memory for him to have than ‘my mother killed herself whilst swimming with me in a lake’. So yeah, clearly one saving grace in an otherwise terrible tragedy.

    • ItHappenedOneNight says:

      I think that as he grows up – and maybe has kids of his own, he will see that she wouldn’t have it any other way – and, that she would do it over and over again. That’s how mamas are. They would give up their lives a million times over to be sure their babies are safe. I do hope that as she passed, she was relieved to know that her own baby was safe. I agree that he will probably need so much help and support to understand what happened and be at peace with it. But, as parents know, we would gladly give up all our own lives to be sure that our kids go on to be safe and healthy. It is the nature of a Mama. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • Jezebeelzebub says:

      Let me help you pick the gravel out of your face after the proverbial dragging you experienced as a result of your comment: I know what you meant, and I agree with your sentiment.

  3. Sierra says:

    This cast is cursed…

    Poor woman and child.

  4. Lara says:

    This is genuinely one of the saddest stories. I hope that little boy grows up being proud that his mum saved him and doesn’t feel any guilt.

    It seems she was a very special person from all of the tributes that I’ve read.

  5. Chrissyms says:

    This is just so damn sad. I woke up at 3am just thinking about it. Prayers for her family her son in particular. Too bad it didn’t end up differently :(

  6. Caitlin says:

    So sad. At the very least her son gets to grow up knowing his mother used every last fibre of her being to get him to safety. I do not believe in curses and stupid things like that but the fact that she was found on the anniversary of Corys death is spooky as hell. Has any other show had as much controversy and tragedy from main cast members as Glee?

    • Meredith says:

      I don’t know about shows, but the three main actors from the movie Rebel Without a Cause all died tragically. James Dean was killed in a car accident, Sal Mineo was murdered, and Natalie Wood drowned.

      • Deering24 says:

        The “Poltergeist” franchise has a cursed rep. Young lead Heather O’Rourke died mysteriously; her co-star Dominique Dunne was strangled by her boyfriend; and several other cast members passed one right after another.

  7. Chonky Cat says:

    It’s so incredibly sad. RIP :(

  8. FC says:

    Absolutely devastating. That little boy will never forget that moment.

  9. Becks1 says:

    So incredibly sad.

  10. OriginalLala says:

    That is so sad… :(

  11. Alexandria says:

    RIP Naya.

    I don’t really like this “curse” theory. Water is dangerous. Most of the cast is also grieving, let’s not make them feel dread.

    • lily says:

      I don’t believe in the curse either but it’s interesting how most of the cast have stayed away from the spotlight after the show ended. There were these constant rumours about Ryan Murphy and Mr.Goop’s abusive behaviour towards them.

      • Alexandria says:

        But wanting or getting lesser spotlight in Hollywood has no correlation to a curse though. Abusive behaviour in Hollywood is not really unusual (not that I condone it) especially when
        showbiz encourages narcissism and power play. Most likely the cast appreciated where the show brought them, but they are also glad to walk away from the drama and abuse when the series ended.

      • H says:

        I never heard these rumors. What did Ryan Murphy do besides protect that bully Lea Michelle?

      • KL says:


        It’s a bit of an open secret that Murphy made Dianna Agron’s life hell on set, leading to her character being written out and she wasn’t allowed back for the Cory tribute. Other actors were fired and then re-hired (including Rivera) with a chaotic rhythm that signaled no one except a chosen few were safe. Murphy tended to be BLATANT about his favoritism or who had failed to please him — he practically bragged about the hoops he makes actors jump through when he fictionalized his own life for The New Normal. He was notorious for taking attitudes or incidents from their private lives and writing them into the show, for instance, when Rivera got breast implants between seasons without “permission.” Actors being under contract not to significantly change their appearance (hair cut and color, even tanning or lack thereof) is pretty routine, countering with making her body a running joke on the show was not.

        Murphy protected a bully because he IS a bully.

  12. Lightpurple says:

    This is so very sad.

    Much gratitude for the divers, who searched so her family could find closure and peace.

  13. MellyMel says:

    This breaks my heart. The wholes situation has been so sad and depressing. My heart goes out to her family & friends, especially her parents and her little boy. She was such a talent and clearly a good mom. And as a Glee fan, her body being found on Cory’s anniversary just made this even more painful. I pray she rest in peace.

  14. smcollins says:

    What more can anyone say about this devastating tragedy that hasn’t already been said? As the mom of a 6-year-old son I can imagine how terrified she must have felt in those final moments while simultaneously feeling relief that he made it to safety, even though she knew he’d have to go on without her. I, too, would absolutely use every last ounce of strength I had in me to save my son, even if it meant my own life. It’s just so horrible and heartbreaking, and makes me want to cry every time I think about it.
    Rest In Peace, Naya.

  15. Abby says:

    This whole story breaks my heart. I have a four-year-old, and she vividly knows and understands that her great-grandma has passed away, a year later. That poor little boy is going to remember losing his mom this way the rest of his life. I’m so sad for him.

    And on the anniversary of Cory’s death? Ahh it’s just gut-wrenching. I have never cried so much over a celebrity death as I did Cory. I was such a fan of the show and him in particular, but Naya was a special standout presence. I’ve always rooted for her success. I feel for the cast that worked with and lost both of them.

  16. KellyRyan says:

    The water was so murky at one point underwater cameras were lowered from the boat during the search. Thanks to the search and recovery team who remained persistent. Sadness for all who knew her and cared.

  17. Lee says:

    Among all of the latest tragedies/deaths we’ve heard of, this is the most devastating.
    Truly heartbreaking.

  18. Lindy says:

    As the mom of two boys (whom I love with all my heart) this is making cry this morning. That poor woman. I can’t imagine how hard it’ll be for that sweet little boy without his mama.

  19. anniefannie says:

    Devastating, a mama’s love knows no bounds.
    Imagining her last anguished thoughts as she heroically saved her son are haunting. Peace to her son and loved ones…

  20. Bunny says:

    Please, please, wear personal floatation devices if you’re in open water, are swimming alone, are swimming with someone who couldn’t help you, or if you aren’t a strong swimmer.

    Please know where you’re diving and swimming, know how deep the water is, know what is under the surface, and know what the currents and tides are like. Never overestimate your ability to swim or save another swimmer.

    Please familiarise yourself with what drowning looks like. People drowning don’t usually make much if any sound. They may not flail. Drownings often occur with others nearby.

    This has a good description of what to look for:

    • Noodle says:

      @Bunny, this is such important advice. I saved a woman from drowning in Kauai. She was with her family, with hundreds of people around her snorkeling, and I was the only one to see her go under. I remember seeing her struggle and then just the hand. She had a waist float on, but she was so weak she couldn’t bring her head above the water. I slow-water-ran over and plucked her out of the water and started carrying her out, then she was able to walk In the shallower depths. I never thought I’d ever see anyone in that position, and that NO ONE ELSE saw it, even her family, mere feet away. I grew up at the beach and currently live at the beach, and water terrifies me. People don’t know how quickly it can go bad, and it so often does.

      • lucy2 says:

        When I was a kid, I was out in the waves on a boogie board. All of a sudden a little boy was there struggling, and I brought him in. If I hadn’t been right there with a board, he could have drowned. It was a lifeguarded beach, but no one saw any of it happen. It so easy to get pulled out over your head, and a good wave can knock you down and disorient you under the water.

        My heart breaks for Naya and her family. They have to be thinking “if only she had-” relentlessly.

    • yellow says:

      Thanks for posting.

  21. ChloeP says:

    If there is a heaven there is a special place in paradise for this woman. I hope Naya’s gorgeous boy can take some comfort in knowing that his mom dug deep to find the strength to push him to safety. This story breaks my heart

  22. Nlopez says:

    Heartbreaking. Prayers for Naya and her loved ones& friends.

  23. Loretta says:

    I cried so much yesterday. What a tragedy

  24. Emily says:

    I’m nearly in tears, too. Her poor son. She was a good mom. The lake needs signs if it’s this dangerous.

    That’s eerily that she was found on the anniversary of Corey’s death. Anyone else feel like Glee is cursed? That’s three members of the cast who have died now. Granted one was a pedophile.

  25. Ochar says:

    This absolutely breaks my heart. My in-laws have a lake house & I’m on the lake quite a bit. I am so tired of seeing all the people judging her. SO many adults swim in the lake without a life vest on. When I heard her anchor wasn’t down & that her son said they went for a swim & he got back on but she didn’t, I strongly felt like the boat got away from them & she spent up her energy getting him back on the boat. It brings me to tears thinking about the panic she must have felt when she realized how far away from the boat they were & how worried she would have been to get her baby back on that boat. This whole thing is heartbreaking.

    • Jamie says:

      We live on a big lake and we are water and boating people. People have no idea how easily this can happen, even to experienced boaters. Yes of course it could have been prevented if she’d been swimming with a floatation device, but people rarely do that. I routinely see people swimming off into the lake or letting their kids do it both off the shore or off the boat. Boats drift even with an anchor unless it’s really big or well secured. I’ve seen how quickly people can go under, especially in a big body of water. My rule is people swim, kayak or paddle board with life jackets in the water and someone has to stay in the boat. Water is dangerous and i think especially bc what I see is that people are relaxing and tend to forget it even more. I’m sad for this girl and thankful she managed to save her son.

  26. Intheknow says:

    I was still hoping there’s be a last minute miracle. I hoped she was just injured and on the shore somewhere waiting for help.

    RIP Naya.

  27. Jess says:

    Absolutely heartbreaking, I’m tearing up a bit too. I hope little Josey gets a lot of good therapy and support and doesn’t feel guilt for the rest of his life. I also hope he doesn’t remember specific details, my stomach hurts just thinking of him watching his mother disappear under the surface, that could haunt you forever.

  28. SM says:

    This is horrible. That poor little boy…. seems like they really had a strong bond. My boy is 7 now, my father died when he was 4 and yet he still remembers him despite the fact he was quite sick for a long time and could not spend much time with his grandchildren. The first encounter with death for a child is transformative. He used to ask me a lot of questions about death back then and they formed his understanding of life and death. Kids despite the age have a need to understand death and how the body and life they witness and experience is transformed by it. I can’t even imagine how much the death of the most beloved and close person does to a child. My point is, this boy is not too young, it is his mother we witnessed die, his life will be shaped by this tragedy and we can only hope and pray he comes out on the other side of this.

  29. BnLurkN4eva says:

    This is going to give me nightmares. I had a recurring nightmare after watching the movie open water and that’s what this whole situation reminds me of. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this poor woman and her child since last Wednesday and hoped there would be a happy ending somehow. I kept hoping she would be found in one of the cabins alive and disoriented, but once that was exhausted I braced myself for this outcome and now I can’t stop imagining her last minutes. At least she knew she saved her son, I will hold on to that and I hope that will give her family something to hold firm to.

  30. Cerise says:

    This is absolutely devastating. I’ve been following the story and kept hoping against hope that she would have somehow survived and be found.
    What a terrible tragedy, it breaks my heart to think of her last moments and of her poor son growing up without his mother. 😢

  31. margedebarge says:

    It’s not as though I had never heard of someone drowning before but for some reason this story has really clicked in my head. I might never swim in a lake again, certainly not without a life vest. The ocean is concerning too. I might be a swimming pool lady from now on.

  32. margedebarge says:

    It’s not as though I had never heard of someone drowning before but for some reason this story has really clicked in my head. I might never swim in a lake again, certainly not without a life vest. The ocean is concerning too. I might be a swimming pool lady from now on.

    • Valerie says:

      just made a similar comment! It makes me think back to all the time I spent swimming in lakes as a kid. I was fortunate. You never know what can happen.

  33. Enis says:

    I hope her family and friends can find closure.

    It looks like a good chunk of the Glee cast is still rather close. Heather Morris and Amber Reilly were both at the shore with her family when they found out.

  34. Moonstone says:

    I can’t get over the fact that Naya’s body was found the exact same day that Cory died seven years ago…I truly feel like he was watching over her and guiding the search team to her whereabouts. I hope they have reunited and are both at peace now.

    Rest easy, Naya ❤

  35. Case says:

    Such a sad story. I wish her son and the rest of her family as much peace as possible.

  36. Lucy says:

    I still can’t believe it. How sad and horrific. Her poor little boy. Her poor ex husband and family. And on Cory’s death anniversary, no less.

  37. Mina_Esq says:

    Devastating. The panic this poor woman must have felt in the final moments of her life. I’m so glad that her little boy was saved. Lake currents are no joke.

  38. Lunasf17 says:

    This is so sad and tragic. I’m not very experienced around water but this making me rethink things. I’ve gone to lakes before to swim that sound similar to this one and there is so much that can go wrong, especially when you are alone or with a small child. We all need to take life jackets more seriously and water safety.

  39. Kk2 says:

    God this is awful. Poor poor kid. Poor naya. I am glad they found her body so they can give family some closure.

  40. Valiantly Varnished says:

    This breaks my heart. For her. For him. For her family. She likely knew that she wouldnt make it but wanted to make sure her baby was safe. Im not a mother but I know that MOST mothers – and fathers – would give their lives to save their child in a heartbeat. She died doing the most instinctual thing a parent can do.

  41. boobra says:

    prayers for her soul and comfort and guidance for her family. this is so so sad.

  42. Charfromdarock says:

    It’s absolutely heartbreaking.

  43. Jules says:

    So tragic to think what her last moments were like. Vulture mag has a good article remembering her, and listing her top performances in Glee. She had incredible talent.

  44. adastraperaspera says:

    Bless her for saving her little boy. I hope her family finds consolation in knowing she did all she could.

  45. MarJo says:

    Poor little boy, I hope he has other caring family members to help him through this.

  46. Jules says:

    I don’t want to believe in curses or anything like that. I do believe in angels and I agree with one of the posters above, that perhaps Cory was an angel who helped guide the search. They were a close cast despite some of the issues we’ve heard about. And maybe they reunited in heaven. I hope her ex-husband, friends, family and the Glee cast and most especially her son can find some solace and peace over time. She was so talented and worked her whole life, a very loving mother and friend. I was hoping for a
    Miracle too but perhaps Cory did help guide the search and she will look after her son from heaven. I hope and pray Josey will have tons of support and comfort. I don’t have words…nothing I say will come out right. I’m just so sad over it. Everyone has expressed it so well in this thread. I will just continue to pray for her and all.

  47. Abby says:

    If you go look at her Instagram….there is a recent post within the week before her death that references how tomorrow isn’t promised…..and a post of her in the bathtub from March with a quote about struggling to stay afloat and breathe….. 😳 So haunting. And so tragic that she couldn’t save herself.

  48. Adorable says:

    Such a sad sad Ending.urgh can 2020 end already!

  49. Liz version 700 says:

    That is gut wrenching. I feel so badly for her family and especially her son. What a memory to grow up with …

  50. uninspired username says:

    That poor baby :(

  51. Mrs. Darcy says:

    Absolutely tragic. I hope they do figure out what happened if nothing else than to prevent another outcome like this. I grew up going out in lakes and the ocean in much smaller boats with my Dad fishing. I honestly don’t even remember if I wore a life jacket, it was the 80s. This could happen to anyone, it’s probably a miracle she saved her child’s life if she was struggling/they fell out of the boat somehow. It’s so sad that she wasn’t wearing a life jacket. If this lake has currents or is unsafe they should really enforce this rule from now on.

  52. Soupie says:

    My partner lost his mother at 5 yrs old. They were extremely close. He is 74 now. He clearly remembers her falling to the kitchen floor dead. Then she disappeared. Then he spent 2 days at the neighbor’s house while his father took care of a lot of business. (The neighbor happened to be Lena Horne, in Harlem. He was her kids’ playmate.) Next they moved to L.A. where his father had family. Everyone said his mother had gone to live with the Lord. He was mad at the Lord for a long time for taking his mommy away. He was traumatized by “one moment she was there and gone the next.” This is what Josey will deal with. She disappeared right in front of him. There will be memories. Prayers and good thoughts for Josey and his family.

  53. The Recluse says:

    Terrible. Just terrible.

  54. Sue M says:

    So, so sad. I read in the news reports that the little boy was wearing a life jacket. But Mom’s life jacket was in the boat. I wish she had had a life jacket on, she may not have drowned. I live on the seacoast. Every year there are incidents of parents with not wearing life jackets drowning, while the child they are with survives because they were wearing a life jacket. ALWAYS where a life jacket when boating and swimming from the boat. It is safer in a group as well. Just incredibly tragic.

  55. Jane says:

    I’m going to say a wildly unpopular comment, but there is a reason you are supposed to swim in pairs, and a four-year-old doesn’t count as half of a pair. It’s so sad, but seems so very avoidable that I have some anger about it too. Rent a boat, go to the middle of a lake, get off the boat with a four year old. I can’t fathom those choices. I am sorry for her fear, but I am far sorrier for the little boy who will have a very hard time overcoming this.

    • Valerie says:

      It shouldn’t be unpopular. I know what you’re saying and don’t take it as an attack. You should go in pairs, but I think it’s also just something you do without thinking. I used to go to the beach with my mom, who can’t swim at all. Where we went was, I think, monitored by a lifeguard, but I can’t be sure … Neither of us thought anything of it. Nothing ever happened and it didn’t occur to us that it could, so I can see why it wouldn’t to her.

  56. Bea says:

    I really don’t understand if she made it to the boat to help him up why she couldn’t hang on and say – “throw me the life vest?’”
    This is an incredibly sad – yet easily preventable tragedy. :(
    Deep water with zero flotation devices? Not fun and super exhausting.

    • Valerie says:

      To her four year old son? They might not have been within reach. If she had asked him, it’s possible he would’ve panicked and been unable to act quickly enough. It doesn’t sound like any of that happened, based on his testimony. He said he saw her quickly disappear under the water after being hoisted aboard, so It sounds like she got swept away and didn’t have time to speak. :(

  57. Valerie says:

    This is so nightmarish. Water is scary. I love swimming, but I haven’t swum in a lake in years — and I used to do it all the time without fear! Being older now, I’m more aware of the dangers and wary of getting into anything that isn’t a pool. It can be so unpredictable. I’d definitely think twice about getting into deep water now.