Former Glee star Naya Rivera might have helped save her 4-year-old son Josey's life before her death, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said in a news conference Monday. Ayub confirmed that Rivera's body was found early Monday morning at about 9:10, floating in the northeastern area of Lake Piru, a reservoir in Los Padres National Forest. Rivera went missing Wednesday afternoon.
When employees at the lake found Rivera's boat Wednesday, Josey was asleep inside, wearing his life jacket. Rivera's life jacket was in the vessel, but Rivera could not be found. Josey told investigators he was swimming with his mother, but it is not clear how Josey got back in the boat. "It would be speculation to say at this point. There are a lot of currents on the lake that appear particularly in the afternoon," Ayab explained. He said the boat might have started drifting, as it was not anchored. Rivera might have "mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself," Ayab said.
Earlier in the news conference, Ayab confirmed swimming is allowed in the lake, but most people visit for watercraft recreation. Authorities focused their search in the northeastern part of the lake for the past five days, but could not locate the body due to the poor visibility and heavy underwater shrubbery. According to Ayab, the reason why they found the body floating Monday may be due to decomposition, as the gas filling the body caused it to rise to the surface. The body looked like it had been in the water "for several days."
Rivera shared Josey with her ex-husband, actor Ryan Dorsey. In March, the former couple reached a new joint custody agreement almost two years after their divorce was finalized. The two agreed to equal time with Josey and planned to divide holidays, vacations and summer vacation evenly. They shared joint custody of Josey, although Rivera had primary physical custody.
Rivera's last Instagram post was published the day before her disappearance and was a photo of herself with Josey. "I'm a mom now, and what I love more than acting is being Josey's mom. So, I want to be here for him. And I don't want to miss anything," Rivera told Entertainment Tonight in 2016, just after Josey was born. "I'm going to navigate the right way to do that."
Rivera played Santana Lopez on Glee from 2009 to 2015. Her other credits include The Royal Family, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Bernie Mac Show and At The Devil's Door. At the time of her death, Rivera was starring in YouTube's premium series Step Up: High Water, which recently finished its second season. Season 3 will air on Starz.