Naya Rivera’s Son Tells Police He Watched Her Disappear Beneath Water At Lake

by : Emily Brown on : 11 Jul 2020 10:56
Naya Rivera's Son Tells Police He Watched Her Disappear Beneath Water At Lake PiruNaya Rivera's Son Tells Police He Watched Her Disappear Beneath Water At Lake Pirunayarivera/Instagram

Naya Rivera’s son has told police he saw his mum disappear beneath the water at the lake where she went missing. 

Police have been searching for Rivera, 33, since she vanished on July 8 after renting a boat on Lake Piru in California with her four-year-old son, Josey Hollis.


Authorities were alerted to the situation after another boater in the area found Josey alone on the water, with the boat he and his mum had rented long overdue to be returned. Josey was wearing a life jacket, while another adult-sized jacket was found alongside him in the boat.

You can see CCTV footage showing Rivera and her son arriving at the lake below:

The four-year-old is said to be safe and well, and he has since told police he observed Rivera in the lake before she disappeared.


Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Kevin Donoghue explained there is no evidence the actor ever left the water, and that the most conclusive piece of information in the case comes from Josey’s statements, as he was the only witness.

As per Sky News, Donoghue said police were ‘really holding on’ to what the four-year-old had said, adding:

He observed his mother disappear beneath the water. So we are very confident she is in the water and that at some point in time we will recover her from the lake.


The sergeant’s comments come after an online petition demanding the search for Rivera be extended beyond the lake reached almost 25,000 signatures. The actor is best known for her role in Glee, in which she played cheerleader Santana Lopez from 2009-2015.

Donoghue said:

Our first day was a rescue effort, it was a life-saving effort.

We searched with people on the ground, on the shoreline. We were looking not just for her physically, we were looking for any clues, any evidence that suggested she made it to shore.

If we thought for a moment that there was any chance she could be on land somewhere, if we had any other clues or corroborating information that led us in that direction, we would do that and we would be out there searching and looking.


On July 10, two days after Rivera went missing, authorities shifted their search to a recovery operation,  with investigators believing she ‘drowned in what appears to be a tragic accident’.

Police have been using side-scanning sonar systems, which are towed along the water by boats, to search for any objects at the bottom of the lake that may resemble a human body.

Specialised dive teams have also been scouring the water for signs of Rivera, though the treacherous conditions and low visibility mean their efforts may be unsuccessful.


Officer Chris Dyer of the Ventura County Sheriff’s office said authorities are still trying to bring Rivera home to her family ‘so they can have some closure’.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Celebrity, California, Glee, Naya Rivera, Now


Sky News
  1. Sky News

    Naya Rivera: Son says he watched his mother disappear beneath water of Lake Piru