Six days after she went missing at California’s Lake Piru, actor Naya Rivera was pronounced dead by Ventura County Sheriff’s Office on Monday. The Glee actor’s body was discovered floating near the surface of the lake in Southern California. Naya is survived by her parents, Yolanda and George, younger brother Mychal, sister Nickayla and her 4-year-old son Josey.
As per authorities, Josey told investigators that Rivera boosted him back on to their rented boat and he saw his mother disappearing under water. “She must have mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself,” Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said. Authorities also claim that Rivera was not wearing a life vest, and it was an accident. They assume that her body was trapped in the vegetation under the lake for several days before floating to the top, since divers had searched that part of the lake thoroughly before, where her body was eventually found. The FaceTime videos, which she did with her family from the boat before the accident took place, helped the search teams.
Naya Rivera is best known for playing a gay cheerleader named Santana Lopez in the Fox musical-comedy Glee for six seasons from 2009 to 2015. Glee cast and crew members have been sharing their tributes for Rivera. Actor Jane Lynch wrote on Twitter, “Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were.” Co-creator of Glee, Steven Canals posted on Twitter, “I’ll never be able to articulate the importance of seeing Naya, a Black Puerto Rican, portraying a queer Afro-Latina on primetime TV. I’m heartbroken over all the stories that will remain untold. #RIPNayaRivera.”