Investigators are giving potential insight into the final moments of Naya Rivera, who was pronounced dead on Monday after disappearing last week following a Ventura, California, boating trip with her 4-year-old son Josey.
At a press conference on Monday, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub told reporters that he and his department are “confident” that the body they found that morning in the northeast portion of Lake Piru is that of the “Glee” actress.
While recounting what Josey told authorities, Ayub described the possibility that the 33-year-old was able to save her son’s life, but not her own.
"We know from speaking with her son, that he and Naya swam in 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 said. "He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water."
Ayub continued, “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.”
The sheriff noted that "there are a lot of currents on the lake that appear particularly in the afternoon" and that police believe Rivera disappeared in the "mid-afternoon." Authorities previously revealed that Josey was found sleeping on the boat alone shortly before 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
Ayub added that there is no evidence of foul play or suicide in Rivera’s death.
An autopsy will be performed at the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office, and Rivera will be officially identified based on dental records.
During the press conference, Ayub expressed sympathy to Rivera’s family, loved ones, and fans for their devastating loss.
"As you can imagine, it has been an extremely difficult time for her family throughout this ordeal," he said. "As fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters, our hearts are with them and we share in their grief for Naya’s loss. We have been in direct contact with the family throughout this entire time, and we’ve kept them updated on the progress of our search efforts throughout."
"Our hearts also go out to Naya’s many friends and fans, who have been holding out hope for the best over the last few days."
RIP Naya. You will be missed.