Naya Rivera died from drowning, the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s office has confirmed. The former Glee star’s body was found floating in Southern California’s Lake Piru on July 13, five days after she went missing during a boating trip with her son. “The autopsy findings are consistent with a drowning and the condition of the body is consistent with the time that she was submerged,” the office announced in a July 14 statement. It added that, “No traumatic injuries or disease processes were identified at autopsy. There is no indication from the investigation or examination that drugs or alcohol played a role.” Naya was only 33-years-old.
The attached document was just released by the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office regarding Naya Rivera, whose body was found yesterday in Lake Piru. pic.twitter.com/6APEgrBPaQ
— Ventura Co. Sheriff (@VENTURASHERIFF) July 14, 2020
The Glee actress disappeared while swimming in Lake Piru on July 8, the Ventura County Sheriff’s office previously confirmed. She was with her 4-year-old, Josey Hollis Dorsey when she was reported missing on Wednesday, July 8. Her son was found safe but alone in the watercraft while wearing his life jacket, but Naya was nowhere to be found. After her body was recovered, Sheriff Bill Ayub told the media how Naya heroically “mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself,” after the unanchored vessel might have started drifting away from them while they were swimming.
Naya’s cause of death was revealed after authorities discovered her body at Lake Piru on the morning of July 13, following an extensive five-day search that included professional divers, helicopters, ATV vehicles, boats and ground personnel. Cabins and outbuildings in the surrounding area, as well as the shoreline, were all thoroughly searched, police said.
“We have recovered a body and the medical examiner will conduct a death investigation and perform the identification process,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department told HollywoodLife, via phone, on July 13. The Ventura Sheriff’s office has also been tweeting updates.
Naya’s son was discovered adrift on a pontoon boat alone on July 8, police confirmed, adding that the 4-year-old told authorities that “he and his mother were swimming, but his mother never got back into the boat.” On July 9, authorities confirmed Naya was presumed to have drowned in Lake Piru, with search efforts focused on “recovering” the actress. Also on July 9, police released security camera footage from the Lake Piru boat launch when Naya and her son rented a pontoon boat on Lake Piru, as well as the official 911 call.
Max O’Brien, a diver involved in the search, explained how visibility made the search difficult in a video posted to Twitter. “The visibility is about one to two feet and then in some clearings it’s up to three to five,” he said in the clip, which showed O’Brien speaking at a nighttime news brief, seemingly near the water. “There’s a lot of tree branches and overgrowth from when the lake was lower, so we’re digging through, breaking through sticks and searching a heavy brush bottom,” he continued.
Naya is survived by her 4-year-old son Josey, who she shares with her ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey. Dorsey, who she divorced in June of 2018, appeared to be in tears when pictured at Lake Piru on Saturday, July 11. Naya and Ryan shared joint physical and legal custody of their son.
Our thoughts are with Naya Rivera’s loved ones during this difficult time. Please check back at HollywoodLife for updates on this story.