Naya Rivera’s final act before drowning was getting her son safely onto their boat and out of the water. She’s being hailed as a hero by fans for her selfless effort of motherly love.
Naya Rivera saved the life of her beloved four-year-old son Josey before she tragically drowned in Southern California’s Lake Piru. At the July 13 news conference announcing that her body had been recovered and identified, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub revealed that Josey told investigators that his mom pushed him onto the safety of the boat before slipping underwater. The little one never saw his mom again after that. Josey was later found asleep on the boat with his life jacket on, as the vessel was discovered unanchored and adrift in the northern part of the lake with no sign of Naya just after 4:30pm on July 8.
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
“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. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water,” Ayub explained.
“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 continued. A leasing agent on another boat found Josey adrift in the “narrows” section of the lake after Naya failed to return their vessel at the scheduled 4pm time. An adult life vest was found aboard the craft, indicating that the former Glee star was not wearing one when the mother and son went for a swim. The lake is known for rip currents and very cold water pockets, in addition to strong waves.
Fans are hailing Naya as a hero for saving her son’s life. @Deanoru4Life tweeted, “It was clear for everyone to see that Naya loved Josey very deeply. The fact her final moments were spent saving him at the cost of her own life makes that even more apparent,” while @gxllenhaal added, “Naya Rivera’s act of bravery of saving her son’s life is really inspiring and beautiful. The love of a mother is one of the most powerful things. Unfortunately all we can do now is hope she’s resting in peace and we must keep her memory alive. Her son has a very strong mother.”
— Markell Bailey (@tenorbuds) July 13, 2020
Naya protected her son until her last breath. She was such an angel and a beautiful soul. She loved him more than anything or anyone and that what people should know the most. She saved her son and she knows it. 😭😭
— Goni (@T3ppi1) July 13, 2020
Naya showed fans her deep love for Josey through her social media. In a Sept. 2019 Instagram post when he turned four, the 33-year-old posted a photo of herself clinging tightly to her son in a tender hug. In the caption she wrote, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be. Happy birthday Josey! Love Mommy.”
Her final Instagram post came on July 6, just two days before her drowning. It was a close-up selfie of her giving Josey a kiss with the caption, “just the two of us.” In one of her final tweets, Naya shared a pretty photo of herself on July 2 and wrote the soon to become haunting message, “No matter the year, circumstance, or strifes everyday you’re alive is a blessing. make the most of today and every day you are given. tomorrow is not promised”