Her son is alive because of her: The tragic death of Naya Rivera

Published July 15, 2020, 11:42 AM

by Vianca Gamboa

The Glee star saved her four-year-old son from drowning

Naya Rivera went missing on July 8 and her body was found five days after. File/AFP

Glee star Naya Rivera sparked a Twitter frenzy after she went missing on Wednesday, July 8. Initial reports said that the actress’s four-year-old son Josey Dorsey was found sleeping alone on a rented pontoon boat floating around Lake Piru, Ventura County, California when the watercraft was declared overdue for return.

The Ventura County Sheriff Department immediately ordered a rescue operation and presumed the actress dead due to untraced records the next day—until the discovery of an unidentified body on the fifth day of the search, in which the police were confident that it was that of the 33-year-old missing actress. After an investigation a few hours from breaking the news, the police department held a press conference to confirm Naya Rivera’s death from drowning at the northeastern portion of the lake, and recounted the unfortunate event from the account of her son.

According to Josey, they supposedly bonded over swimming before her mother disappeared beneath the surface of the water. “We know from speaking with her son, that he and Naya swamin the lake together at some point during their journey. It was during that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind,” the Sheriff Bill Ayub said. She mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but notenough to save herself.” Based on the autopsy report, the body has been dead since July 8, the day of her disappearance, and there was no evidence of foul play or suicide.

Other than her stint as the lesbian cheerleader Santana Lopez on musical TV show Glee, Naya Rivera started out as a child actress and starred in several sitcoms and comedy films, including Step Up, Devious Maids, The Royal Family, and Mad Families. She has also published her biographical book called Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up in 2016.

Like the elusive “27 Club” that categorizes coincidences of musician’s unnatural deaths at the significant age of 27, a few celebrity theories circled around social media, including the “Glee curse,” which was coined after Rivera’s body was recovered on the seventh death anniversary of former Glee co-star Corey Monteith, who died due to combined drug intoxication in 2013. The death of controversial actor Mark Salling, who committed suicide in 2018, was also a case in point over the spike of tragic losses among the Glee stars.