Naya Rivera's father spoke with the late actress just hours before her tragic death, and he recently opened up about that "heartbreaking" last FaceTime call they shared. Speaking exclusively to People, George Rivera recalled the day his daughter died, revealing that she spoke with him about taking her son to the lake the morning she went missing. "She would always bounce stuff off me," the grieving father shared. "And she wanted to go swimming with Josey out in the middle of the lake."
George says that Naya FaceTime called him from the boat, and, being a boater himself, he took note that there was no anchor present, which alarmed him. I could see that the wind was blowing and my stomach was just cringing," he remembered "I kept telling her, 'Don't get out of the boat! Don't get out of the boat! It will drift away when you're in the water.'" Eventually, the FaceTime call dropped, and it would be the last time George saw his daughter alive. "It was just heartbreaking," he said. "I had this bad feeling that was just killing me."
Glee Star Naya Rivera's Dad on Her Plans for the Future: 'She Was Looking Forward to So Many Things' https://t.co/7HUTwmVNEv— People (@people) June 9, 2021
Rivera was reported missing on July 8, 2020, after taking 4-year-old 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.
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."