‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera, a 33-year-old mom of one, is presumed to have drowned on Lake Piru Wednesday afternoon. Her son was discovered alone on the boat they had rented for the afternoon.
Family Outing Turned to Tragedy
It should have been a fun afternoon for the Glee star and her son. Naya rented a pontoon boat and set out on Southern California’s Lake Piru around one o’clock on Wednesday. Just a few hours later, law enforcement would find her son alone on the boat–with no sign of Naya.
Authorities received reports of a little boy alone on a pontoon boat late Wednesday afternoon. When they arrived, they found Naya’s four-year-old son, Josey, all alone. The little boy had fallen asleep during his ordeal. However, he was able to tell the police that his mother had not gotten back onto the boat with him after they went swimming together.
Although Josey was wearing a life vest, it appears that his mother left hers aboard the boat. Authorities found an adult-sized life vest on board. Police confirm that the boy is in good health, but that he is understandably scared and confused.
Notorious Lake Claims Another Victim?
Lake Piru has a bad reputation for its strong rip currents. The lakebed is riddled with sudden drops that can plunge waders into deep, icy water. And gusts of wind frequently kick up surprisingly big waves that can push a boat just out of reach. This combination has led to multiple drowning deaths over the years.
In 2008, a man died while rescuing his 5-year-old daughter, who had fallen into the water from their boat. While his two other children watched, he managed to get the little girl on board but could not pull himself up. His body was not found until several days later.
It’s very possible that Naya endured a similar fate. We don’t know if she was a particularly strong swimmer, but it only takes a moment for a leisurely dip in Lake Piru to turn into an emergency situation. She might not have been able to pull herself up, or perhaps the boat drifted away and she couldn’t reach it.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, “Most victims [in Lake Piru] are inexperienced swimmers who are not wearing life jackets and who overestimate their own abilities or swim in prohibited areas.”
The lake is currently closed as dive teams search for Naya.