Naya Rivera found the strength to save her young son but she couldn't save herself, police say. The Glee star, 33, was confirmed dead by Ventura County Police department after her body was found on day six of the search. But it has also emerged that one of the last things she did before she died was to make sure her four-year-old boy Josey survived. Sheriff Ayub shared some tragic details in the minutes leading up to Naya's death.
"We believe it was mid-afternoon when she disappeared," he said.
“The idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting, it was unanchored, and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back into the boat, but not enough to save herself."
Josey is Naya's only child, whom she had with her ex-husband and actor Ryan Dorsey. Speaking about him in 2018, Naya told People how inspirational she found her son, who was the motivation for the creation of her clothing brand 'Jojo and Izzy'.
“First and foremost, everything I do is for Josey," she said. "He's at the best age. He’s talking so much and (he’s) so cool, kind and sweet. Josey inspires me in so many ways that it felt natural to want to create this for him and I. Starting this company from the ground up is something I’m really, really proud of. I know that my son is proud of it too."
After his mum went missing, Josey was found sleeping on the boat wrapped in a towel and wearing a life jacket. He told investigators he and his mother went swimming and he got back on the boat, but "his mum never made it out of the water."
Police said there is no evidence of foul play or suicide. The next day that the boat was found in the northern part of the lake, in an area where the water is about 30 feet deep.
Mr Ayub explained: "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. Our hearts go out to her family, friends and fans during this difficult time. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of her death."
Friends and former colleagues have been paying tribute to the actress after the police made the grim discovery.