Naya Rivera raised her arm and called for “help” before drowning while boating with her 4-year-old son Josey in July, according to an autopsy report obtained by Us Weekly.
The Glee alum’s son told investigators Rivera counted “1,2,3” before she and Josey jumped off their rented pontoon boat into Lake Piru, California on July 8. The actress helped her son back on to the boat before he “noticed the decedent put her arm up in the air and yelled ‘help,’” according to the report from the Ventura County Medical Examiner. “The decedent then disappeared into the water.”
The filings — which officially ruled her death as an accidental drowning — also revealed Rivera suffered from vertigo “that would get worse when she was in the water.”
The Mad Families star was reported missing on July 8 after Josey — whom she shared with her ex-husband Ryan Dorsey — was found sleeping alone on their boat. Rivera’s body was recovered five days later. She was 33. The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed in a press release at the time that the cause of death was drowning.
“The circumstances and visual characteristics all indicated that the body was that of Naya Rivera and the identity has been confirmed by dental comparison,” the press release read. “The body has been x-rayed and a full autopsy has been performed. The autopsy findings are consistent with a drowning and the condition of the body is consistent with the time that she was submerged. No traumatic injuries or disease processes were identified at autopsy.”
A diver from Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team explained what possibly could have happened to Rivera in an interview with Us one day before her body was recovered.
“If you’re not familiar with the boat and getting on and off the boat, you can get tired just climbing onto the boat. You can fall back in, people hit their heads, things like that,” Robert Inglis said at the time. “What I suspect is that the winds kicked up. Those pontoon boats are very light, and when you push them, it can get away from you.”