Naya Rivera's dad has given an update on the late actress' son Josey, almost a year after her death. Speaking exclusively to Entertainment Tonight, George Rivera shared that Josey's father, Ryan, and Naya's sister, Nickayla, have been "doing a really great job" taking care of the child. He also shared that Josey has been doing well, considering he was present when she tragically drowned.
"Tough situation, especially because he was there," George said. "It's not like you're talking about a ghost that's floating around, right? He's got memories as well, but boy is he coming around, right? Really strong kid." George went on to explain, "We handle him and we talk to him just like he's a 5-year-old going on six. It's no different but when he wants to talk about his mother, we talk about his mother, in conversation. He's growing up and handling it really well."
Rivera was reported missing on July 8, after she took Josey out in a rented boat on the Ventura, California lake. The pontoon was discovered with Josey aboard, but Rivera was nowhere to be found. Authorities searched for more than five days, eventually finding Rivera's body on the morning of July 13. Her death was officially ruled an accidental drowning. The Blast shared a copy of Rivera's death certificate, which lists her cause of death as "drowning" that claimed her life in just "minutes." It also states that Rivera had "no other significant conditions that contributed to her death."
Investigators believe that in the moments before Rivera was pulled under, she performed a heroic act by making sure Josey got back into the boat, so he would safe. George was asked about this and replied by explaining that it is reflective of the type of mother his daughter was. "Sort of the same mantra she used for life, you know, preservation, keep going, when things are hard you keep pushing," he said. "It just shows you the strength of the person."
In a statement following her death, Rivera's family said,"We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week. While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honor her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit. Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister." The statement then went on to thank the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department for its "commitment and unwavering effort to find Naya."
The statement added, "We extend endless gratitude and ovation to the heroine who found her. Thank you to her friends, colleagues, and fans for your continuous support. Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time."