Naya Rivera 'never made it out of the water', officials confirm

Kristine Tarbert
·Features and Health Editor
·2-min read

Officials have given a further update on the recovery mission for Glee star Naya Rivera, revealing they believe the actress “never made it out of the water”.

Naya's son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, initially told investigators that he and his mother went for a swim, but she never returned to the boat.

In a press conference on Thursday the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said after speaking to Josey some more they believe Naya may have drowned.

“He gave enough information to investigators to conclude that his mother never made it out of the water,” Sergeant Kevin Donoghue told reporters.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 06:  Naya Rivera attends Women's Guild Cedars-Sinai Annual Luncheon at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on November 06, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Glee star Naya Rivera is now presumed dead. Photo: Getty

“We’re still investigating and trying to find out what happened,” the Sergeant continued. “It’s not uncommon to have boating accidents and people lose their lives. And we have had drownings here.”

He said the department was using “every asset available to locate her” including a team of divers and air operations.

“In that particular area of the lake there are a lot of trees and branches in the water making it difficult for divers and visibility is very low,” he added.

“If the body is entangled in something beneath the water it may never come back up.”

Sergeant Kevin Donoghue
Sergeant Kevin Donoghue spoke to reporters on Thursday. Photo: Ventura County Sheriff’s Department

The Sergeant added investigators are looking to release the 911 audio as well as CCTV footage from the dock.

“Our prayers and thoughts go out to the Rivera family, it’s a terrible tragedy for all of them, and we hope to bring closure to them,” he concluded.

“We’re going to do everything we can to find her.”

PIRU, CALIFORNIA - JULY 09:  Boats with emergency workers search Lake Piru, where actress Naya Rivera was reported missing Wednesday, on July 9, 2020 in Piru, California. Rivera, known for her role in "Glee," was reported missing July 8 after her four-year-old son, Josey, was found alone in a boat rented by Rivera. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department is coordinating a search and recovery operation. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Boats with emergency workers search Lake Piru. Photo: Getty

The update comes after authorities revealed their rescue operation to find Naya Rivera is now considered a recovery operation with the Glee star presumed dead, CBSLA reported.

“It kind of changes the title in a sense. We’re presuming that an accident happened, and we’re presuming that she drowned in the lake,” sheriff's Deputy Chris Dyer said.

Captain Eric Buschow of Ventura County Sheriff's Department, told the LA Times Josey was "in good health".

“The family is going through a very traumatic time right now,” he told NBC LA, adding, “This is considered to be a horrible accident.”

Naya's identity was confirmed after finding her wallet onboard the boat with her son. Her life jacket was also in the boat.

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