New details are emerging about Naya Rivera's disappearance and death. During a news conference Monday just hours after authorities confirmed that a body had been recovered, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub suggested that the actress may have used her final moments to save her 4-year-old son Josey, who told authorities that he watch Rivera "disappear" into the waters of Lake Piru.
Addressing reporters, Ayub explained that "we know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point during their journey," according to Us Weekly. The actress had rented a pontoon boat on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 8 but had failed to return. Josey reportedly told authorities that he was "helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind" and that when he looked back after being brought to safety, he "saw her disappear under the surface of the water."
When search efforts began last week, authorities had quickly stated that Rivera was presumed dead by drowning. Although they offered few details regarding this belief, they cited Josey's statements that he and his mother had gone swimming in the lake as well as the fact that an adult life vest was still found aboard the drifting vessel. It was believed that this life vest was Rivera’s and that she had potentially entered the water without the floatation device.
While Lake Piru does have a history of drowning deaths, swimming is allowed in certain areas of the lake, which is more popular among boaters. Ayub explained during the Monday news conference that "there are a lot of currents that appear on the lake in the afternoon." He suggested that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat but not enough to save herself."
Josey, who was found asleep aboard the boat "unharmed," has since been reunited with family. Rivera shared him 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 former couple 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.
As family, friends, and fans mourn her loss, Ayub explained that there will be a "detailed examination" of the body. Dental records will be used to positively identify the body. The body was identified as Rivera's based on what authorities know of her disappearance and that she was the only reported missing person in the area where she was last seen.