LOS ANGELES – An autopsy report released Friday says “Glee” actress Naya Rivera raised her arm and called for help when she accidentally drowned while boating with her 4-year-old son in a California lake.
Once his mother helped him back into the boat, the boy “noticed the deceased raise her arm in the air and yelled ‘help’,” says the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s report. “The deceased then disappeared into the water.”
Authorities had previously said Rivera had accidentally drowned after putting the boy, Josey Hollis Dorsey, back in the boat on Lake Piru northwest of Los Angeles on July 8, but they did not mention that she screamed for help.
Rivera “knew how to swim well,” the report says.
The man who rented the pontoon from her said she declined a life jacket, but put one on board anyway.
It revealed that Rivera, 33, had previous vertigo problems, had a recent sinus infection and had a small amount of prescribed amphetamines in his system, but did not identify physical conditions or drugs as factors in his death.
Toxicology tests also showed that he had small therapeutic amounts of the anti-anxiety drug diazepam and the appetite suppressant phentermine in his system.
Josey, Rivera’s son with her ex-husband, actor Ryan Dorsey, was found sleeping alone in the drifting boat that afternoon.
Five days later, his body was found floating in an area of the lake that is about 30 feet deep. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said it was likely trapped in thick vegetation underwater for several days before floating to the top.
On the same day of his disappearance, Naya Rivera published an emotional post on Instagram with her little son.
Josey was immediately reunited with her father and other family members.
The day before his death, Rivera tweeted a photo of the two that read, “just the two of us.” In her memoirs, she called him “my greatest success, and I will never do better than him.”
Rivera’s death was the third for a significant cast member of “Glee,” the Fox TV musical comedy Rivera starred in from 2009 to 2015, playing a singing and dancing lesbian entertainer.
The Puerto Rican-born actress was enjoying a boat ride with her young son before her mysterious disappearance was reported.
Rivera’s drowning occurred seven years after his co-star Cory Monteith died at 31 from a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin.
Another co-star, Mark Salling, whom Rivera dated at one point, committed suicide in 2018 at age 35 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.
The Ventura County Coroner’s Office, in California, confirmed the suspicions of the authorities in July: the body found Monday is of Naya Rivera, the actress who was missing in a lake in the south of the state.
In a press release, the Sheriff’s Office for the same county reported that the cause of death was accidental drowning.
“No traumatic injuries or illnesses were identified during the autopsy. There are no indications in the investigation that drugs or alcohol played a role in the death, but samples have been sent for a toxicological test,” adds the letter published on the Twitter account of police.
In a press conference, officials indicated that they “are sure” that the recovered body belongs to the actress due to her characteristics, the place where she was found and that there are no other reports of other missing persons.
The body was flown 40 miles to the Ventura Coroner’s Office, where an autopsy would be performed, Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Buschow said.
According to authorities, the boy said his mother took him back to the deck of the boat before he disappeared under the water.
“She must have gathered enough energy to get her son back to the ship, but not enough to save herself,” Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said at a news conference.
Rivera rented a boat on Wednesday afternoon accompanied by her 4-year-old son. About three hours later, the child was found alone and asleep in a life jacket in the boat.
A second unused adult life jacket was found on the rented boat, according to reports.
The little boy told the authorities that he was swimming with his mother, she put him back in the boat, but he never returned.
The authorities clarified that the minor was unharmed and said that he went swimming with his mother but she never returned.
The search operation had been made difficult because the water in Lake Piru is cloudy and dark, making it difficult for rescue personnel to see.
“We are working on the hypothesis that she fell into the water and we have not been able to locate her. It could be a drowning case,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Captain Eric Buschow had told the media.
According to this unit, more than 80 professionals worked in the search for Rivera, who will be joined by special teams from Los Angeles and other southern California counties.
The day before, Rivera posted on Twitter a photograph of the two together with the message “just the two of us.”
Rivera is well known for her role as Santana López in the popular musical series “Glee” (2009-2015), and has also featured in the credits of the television show “Criadas y malvadas” and the horror film “At the Devil’s Door.” (2014).