“I don’t know who is who in the cast, but there were 12 to 15 people,” Captain Eric Buschow told Us Weekly following news of her tragic death. “They were down there by the edge of the lake and prayed for about a half-hour … I did not go down there and stand with them, so I don’t know what they did or said other than they had expressed a desire to go down there and have a prayer.”
“As they were praying, we got a call that the body was discovered on the surface of the lake,” Buschow revealed, explaining why they were later informed. “We want the family to be notified officially,” he said. “We don’t want them to learn about it on the news.”
On Wednesday, July 13, authorities confirmed the death of the 33-year-old, revealing they are “confident the body we found [in Lake Piru] is that of Naya Rivera.” Police held a press conference to share the devastating news five days after the TV personality was reported missing following a boating trip with her 4-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey.
The actress was found in a north-eastern portion of the reservoir near the surface of the water. An autopsy will be performed on her body at the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office and her official cause of death will be revealed at a later date.
There are still some unanswered questions about what happened during the Step Up: High Water star’s visit to the lake on July 8, but investigators offered some insight into her final moments during the press conference.
“We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point during their journey,” Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said. “It was during that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him to the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.”
Investigators speculate she drowned while swimming after her pontoon boat as it started floating away because of the currents in the lake.
“We believe it was mid-afternoon when she disappeared, 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,” Ayub added.
Rivera’s dad George and her ex Ryan Dorsey, the father of Josey, were spotted at Lake Piru when searchers recovered her body. The Devious Maids actress’ mother, Yolanda Rivera, and Raiders athlete brother, Mychal Rivera, were also previously seen gazing out at the water as they tried to find solace in such a trying time.
Dorsey, 36, and Rivera wed in 2014 and finalized their divorce after four years of marriage in 2018. They welcomed their only child, Josey, in September 2015.
The star’s family is “completely devastated,” an insider exclusively told In Touch. “That little boy worshipped his mom, he loved her so much.”
In her 2016 memoir Sorry Not Sorry, Rivera said her baby boy was her “greatest success” and something she would forever be proud of.
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