Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW DAL­TON AP En­ter­tain­ment Writer

LOS AN­GE­LES — “Glee” star Naya Rivera’s 4-year-old son told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that his mother, whose body was found in a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia lake Mon­day, boosted him back on to the deck of their rented boat be­fore he looked back and saw her dis­ap­pear­ing under the wa­ter, au­thor­i­ties said.

“She must have mus­tered enough en­ergy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save her­self,” Ven­tura County Sher­iff Bill Ayub said at a news con­fer­ence.

The boy, Josey Hol­lis Dorsey, was found asleep and alone in a life vest on the drift­ing pon­toon boat about three hours af­ter they launched on Lake Piru north­west of Los An­ge­les, set­ting off a five-day search that ended with the dis­cov­ery of the body of the 33-yearold float­ing near the sur­face early Mon­day, au­thor­i­ties said.

The boy, Rivera’s son from her mar­riage to ac­tor Ryan Dorsey, was safe and healthy and quickly re­united with fam­ily mem­bers af­ter he was found, au­thor­i­ties said.

The mother and son had gone swim­ming, which was per­mit­ted in that part of the lake, Ayub said. She was not wearing a life vest.

Au­thor­i­ties be­lieve that Rivera drowned ac­ci­den­tally and that her body most likely was trapped in the veg­e­ta­tion under the lake for sev­eral days be­fore float­ing to the top, Ayub said.

Divers had al­ready thor­oughly searched the area where she was even­tu­ally found, but shrub­bery that had grown wildly in the area, which was re­cently dry, must have kept her hid­den in the murky wa­ter.

Fam­ily mem­bers chat­ted with Rivera via FaceTime when she was on the boat, and search crews watched those videos for clues to where she might have gone down, Ayub said.

“It has been an ex­tremely dif­fi­cult time for her fam­ily through­out this or­deal,” Ayub said “We share in their grief.”

Rivera played singing cheer­leader San­tana Lopez for six sea­sons from 2009 to 2015 on the Fox mu­si­cal-com­edy “Glee.”

She is the third ma­jor cast mem­ber from the show to die in their 30s.

The an­nounce­ment of her death comes seven years to the day af­ter co-star Cory Mon­teith died at 31 from a toxic mix of al­co­hol and heroin, with the se­ries los­ing one of its leads while it was still on the air.

An­other co-star, Mark Salling, whom Rivera dated at one point, killed him­self in 2018 at age 35 af­ter plead­ing guilty to child pornog­ra­phy charges.

Naya Rivera


Naya Rivera’s fa­ther, Ge­orge Rivera (sec­ond from left), and mother, Yolanda (sec­ond from right), with mem­bers of the sher­iff’s of­fice, ar­rive at a dock af­ter their daugh­ter’s body was found in Lake Piru.


Naya Rivera is the third ma­jor cast mem­ber from “Glee” to die in their 30s.

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