Six days after Naya Rivera went missing in Lake Piru, a carcass was found by rescue divers on Monday. Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub confirmed it was the Glee star’s body. According to officials, Naya used the last of her strength to save her 4-year-old son before she breathed her last. “She mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself,” Ayub said. This statement matches that of her son, who earlier told rescuers that he and his mother had gone into the water to swim but she did not get back on the boat.
The son later told investigators that Rivera had helped him into the boat before “he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water,” added Ayub. Naya’s body was retrieved and an initial examination found no evidence of foul play or suicide, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub told a press conference. “We are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera,” stated Ayub, pointing to the location, appearance, clothing and condition of the body.
Her body was being taken to a medical examiner’s office for a full autopsy and confirmation of her identity from dental records, though no other missing persons have been reported at Lake Piru, noted Ayub. Naya believed to have accidentally drowned after renting the boat at the camping and picnic site, approximately an hour’s drive northwest of Los Angeles. Ayub pointed to the lake’s strong currents as a possible cause of a fatal accident.
“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. We believe she was concealed within some of the shrubbery on the floor bed of the lake before eventually floating to the surface due to natural decomposition. With less than one foot (30 centimeters) of visibility underwater in daylight, the recovery operation was a complex search effort even with use of sonar equipment,” Ayub concluded. Rest in peace Santana Lopez, our all-time favourite character from Glee! You’ll be forever missed.