Naya Rivera’s 4-year-old son was asleep, wearing his life jacket, when he was discovered alone on their rented boat — while the former “Glee” star’s protective vest was left sitting inside, investigators and witnesses said Thursday.
The 33-year-old actress apparently went for a swim while out on California’s Lake Piru with her son Josey Hollis Dorsey Wednesday afternoon, and never made it out of the water, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
“We have no indication after talking to her son that Ms. Rivera made it to shore,” Sgt. Kevin Donoghue told reporters. “He gave enough information to conclude that his mother never made it back on board.”
Video evidence recovered from the dock showed that Rivera and her son were the only two aboard the vessel — which was found out on the water by boat rental staffers.
It’s unclear how long the boat had been unmanned when it was found.
There was “one life jacket on board and one on the 4-year-old boy,” Donoghue said, adding that Rivera’s purse and ID were also recovered from the boat.
A man who was out on the marina Wednesday described to The Sun how the employees found Josey asleep shortly before 5 p.m. and “fed him, comforted him and kept him happy” until his relatives arrived.
“Josey was asleep on the boat wearing a life jacket but Naya’s jacket was sitting on the seat,” said the witness, who was not named in the report.
“Anyone 18 or over it is up to them if they were a jacket or not, but it has to be on the boat,” he noted.
The man added: “Josey didn’t seem upset, he is maybe a little too young to understand what was happening.”
He’s now in the care of his family and doing “as good as can be expected,” authorities said.
Meanwhile, the search for his mom’s body continues with multiple dive teams, half a dozen boats and helicopters from the Sheriff’s Department and Coast Guard, combing the northern half of the lake “hoping to find any clues or evidence of her disappearance,” Donoghue said.
“The focus of our search efforts are in the water right now,” he added. “We’re going to do everything we can to find her.
It wasn’t Rivera’s first time out on the lake — where swimming is permitted — but it’s unclear if she’d been boating there with her son previously.
There is no strong undercurrent on the body of the water, though it’s temperature can sometime dip to the point of potentially causing hypothermia, Donoghue said, adding he didn’t know if that was the case here.
The lake’s poor visibility is also impacting the search, as is the fact that investigators don’t know exactly where in the water Rivera went missing.
“If the body is entangled in something inside the water, it may never come up,” Donoghue said.
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