Rivera May Have Saved Her Son With Last Breath

4-year-old said mom pushed him onto boat, then disappeared
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2020 7:58 AM CDT
With Last Breath, Rivera Saved Her Son
Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub speaks at a news conference after actress Naya Rivera's body was found in Lake Piru, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Naya Rivera's last act was to save her son, according to police. Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub described the Glee actress' final moments, as recounted by her 4-year-old son, at a press conference Monday afternoon, shortly after a body believed to be Rivera's was found at California's Lake Piru. Rivera had been reported missing at the lake on Wednesday after her son was found alone in a rented pontoon boat. "Her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind," the sheriff said, per People. "He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water." Ayub suggested the boat had gotten away from the pair while they were swimming.

"The idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting, it was unanchored, and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself," Ayub said. He noted the 33-year-old disappeared in the "mid-afternoon" and "there are a lot of currents on the lake that appear particularly in the afternoon." Her life jacket was found on the boat. Authorities believe Rivera's body was trapped for days in brush at the bottom of the lake before it was found floating near the surface on Monday morning, per CBS Los Angeles. The area, 35 to 65 feet deep, had been extensively searched by divers, who remained tethered to boats for their safety amid the murky waters. Rivera's parents have since visited the spot, per CBS. (Read more Naya Rivera stories.)

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