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Autopsy report: Naya Rivera called for help as she drowned

An autopsy report released Friday reveals ‘Glee’ actress Naya Rivera raised her arm and called for help as she accidentally drowned while boating with her four-year-old son on a California lake.

Once his mother had helped him back on to the boat after they went for a swim, the boy ‘noticed the decedent put her arm up in the air and yelled `help,´’ the report from the Ventura County Medical Examiner says. ‘The decedent then disappeared in to the water.’

Authorities had previously said that Rivera had drowned accidentally after putting the boy, Josey Hollis Dorsey, back on the boat at Lake Piru northwest of Los Angeles on July 8, but had not mentioned her shouting for help.

Rivera’s mother Yolanda told investigators that her daughter ‘knew how to swim well,’ the report said.

‘Yolanda stated that according to Josey, he and the decedent counted ‘1,2,3,’ and then jumped off the boat together,’ the report reads. 

‘Shortly after they jumped in the water, the decedent told Josey to get back on the boat. She helped him onto the boat and he then heard the decedent yell ‘help’ and she put her arm in the air. She then disappeared into the water.’ 

 

An autopsy report released Friday says ‘Glee’ actor Naya Rivera raised her arm and called for help as she accidentally drowned while boating with her four-year-old son on a California lake. She is pictured above with son Josey

Rivera's body was found five days after she disappeared and was floating in an area of the lake that is about 30 feet deep. Her body is seen being recovered above

Rivera’s body was found five days after she disappeared and was floating in an area of the lake that is about 30 feet deep. Her body is seen being recovered above

Rivera played Santana in the hit TV show Glee. Her death at 33 has been ruled accidental

From child actress to Glee star: The life of Naya Rivera 

Naya Rivera, age four, as Hillary Winston on the CBS sitcom The Royal Family

Naya Rivera, age four, as Hillary Winston on the CBS sitcom The Royal Family

Naya Rivera was born to former model Yolanda Rivera and actor George Rivera on January 12, 1987, in Santa Clarita, California. 

She began her acting career at just months old, starring as a baby in adverts for Kmart before landing a significant role as Hillary Winston on the CBS sitcom The Royal Family at the age of four. 

Rivera’s personal life came into in the spotlight during her stint on Glee, which began in 2009. 

She started dating artist Big Sean in April 2013, becoming engaged in October 2013 but ending the relationship six months later – later hinting that she had caught him cheating with singer Ariana Grande.

Talking about the split in her book she wrote: ‘We’d been fighting for five straight days while he was traveling, and then on the one day that he was back in LA, he said he didn’t want to see me.

‘Well, a******, I’ve got a key to your house. I walk in, go downstairs, and guess what little girl is sitting cross-legged on the couch listening to music? ‘It rhymes with ‘Smariana Schmande.”

She then began dating actor Ryan Dorsey, who she had previously dated in her early 20s. The pair married on July 19, 2014 in Cabo, San Lucas, Mexico – using the same date set for her marriage to Big Sean.  

Seven months later they announced they were having a son, Josey Hollis, who was born in September 2015.

In November 2016 the couple filed for divorce. They briefly reconciled until November 2017, when Rivera was arrested and charged in Kanawha County, West Virginia, with misdemeanor domestic battery against Dorsey. 

She allegedly hit him in the head during a row over their child, but charges were later dropped.  The couple finally divorced in 2018  and split custody of Josey. 

Rivera’s stint on Glee won her nominations for numerous accolades. She had secured the breakthrough role at the age of 22 after years playing guest roles and recurring TV parts  in shows including Baywatch and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. 

During this time, in 2011, she signed to Columbia Records and launched a solo singing career, releasing a single with rapper Big Sean in 2013 – who she was then dating – titled Sorry. 

Rivera made her movie debut as Vera in the horror film At the Devil’s Door in 2014, then returned to TV to play the reoccurring role of Blanca on Devious Maids in 2015.

A year later she published her memoir, at the age of 29, titled Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up.  

Rivera’s brother Mychal Rivera is a former NFL player for the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars. Her sister Nickayla Rivera is a model.   

The man who rented her the pontoon boat said she declined a life vest, but he put one aboard anyway.

The report revealed that the 33-year-old had previous problems with vertigo, had a recent sinus infection, and had a small amount of prescribed amphetamines in her system, but did not identify physical conditions or the prescribed drugs as factors in her death.

Toxicology tests also showed she had small, therapeutic amounts of the anti-anxiety drug diazepam and the appetite suppressant phentermine in her system.

She had a blood alcohol level of .016%. Three 12-ounce cans of White Claw hard seltzer were found on Rivera’s boat. 

One was empty, another was about three-quarters full and the third was unopened. 

The remainder of a 12 pack was found in her car.

Investigators found her purse on the boat. In it was her cellphone, syringes with a still-unidentified pink fluid substance, ID and a filled prescription slip for amphetamine. 

The autopsy report states: ‘Based on the autopsy findings, known circumstances surrounding the death, and absence of anatomic or toxicological explanation for the death, as currently understood, the cause of death is drowning, and the manner of death is accident.’

Josey, Rivera’s son with her former husband, actor Ryan Dorsey, was found sleeping and alone on the drifting boat later that afternoon.

Five days later, her body was found floating in an area of the lake that is about 30 feet deep. 

According to her death certificate  

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said she was most likely trapped in thick vegetation underwater for several days before floating to the top.

Josey was immediately reunited with his father and other relatives.

The day before her death, Rivera tweeted a photo of the two of them that read, ‘just the two of us.’ In her memoir, she called him ‘my greatest success, and I will never do any better than him.’  

After her death Rivera’s family released a statement which read: ‘Heaven gained our sassy angel. 

‘We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week.

‘While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honor her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit. Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister.

‘Thank you to the men and women of the Ventura, Tulare, and San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Departments for your commitment and unwavering effort to find Naya.

‘We extend endless gratitude and ovation to the heroine who found her. Thank you to her friends, colleagues, and fans for your continuous support.’  

After her death her ex-husband Dorsey paid tribute to her and promised Josey would grow up knowing ‘his momma loved him more than life.’

‘Life is all about good times and bad times but with Josey it makes the bad a little less so because a part of you will always be with us.

‘He’ll never forget where he came from. We miss you. We will always love you.’ 

Rivera’s death was the third of a major cast member of ‘Glee,’ the Fox TV musical comedy that Rivera starred in from 2009 to 2015, playing a singing and dancing lesbian cheerleader.

Security camera at the boat launch captured Naya Rivera and her son arrived to rent a pontoon boat at Lake Piru

Security camera at the boat launch captured Naya Rivera and her son arrived to rent a pontoon boat at Lake Piru

Naya Rivera's father, George Rivera, second from right, and mother Yolanda, second from left, with members of Ventura County Sheriff's Office, are seen in a boat after Naya Rivera's body was found in Lake Piru on Monday, July 13

Naya Rivera’s father, George Rivera, second from right, and mother Yolanda, second from left, with members of Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, are seen in a boat after Naya Rivera’s body was found in Lake Piru on Monday, July 13

Rivera’s body was found seven years to the day after co-star Cory Monteith died at 31 from a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin.

Another co-star, Mark Salling, who Rivera dated at one point, killed himself in 2018 at age 35 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

Rivera's distraught mom was pictured crumpled on the banks of the lake as the search for the missing Glee star entered its fourth day. Her body was recovered on the fifth day of the search

Rivera’s distraught mom was pictured crumpled on the banks of the lake as the search for the missing Glee star entered its fourth day. Her body was recovered on the fifth day of the search

The Glee Curse: How TV’s cheeriest show has been plagued by tragedy and scandal… including drug overdoses, pedophilia, suicide, domestic abuse and on-set bullying 

By Ciara Farmer for MailOnline 

While Glee was easily one of the cheeriest shows to ever grace television screens, behind-the-scenes a murky curse has long-prevailed among its troubled cast and crew.  

The death of Naya Rivera comes among a string of heartbreaks and horrors surrounding the show, including Cory Monteith’s accidental drug overdose in 2013, Naya’s ex-boyfriend Mark Salling’s conviction for possession of child pornography and subsequent suicide and recent rumors of unrest on-set. 

The show ran for six seasons from 2009 to 2015 and throughout its time on air and the years following, trauma has reigned supreme – leading to claims of a ‘Glee Curse’.

Not so Glee-ful: While Glee was easily one of the cheeriest shows to ever grace television screens, behind-the-scenes a murky curse has long-prevailed among its troubled cast and crew (Pictured top row L-R: Chord Overstreet, Harry Shum Jr., Naya Rivera, Dianna Agron, Iqbal Theba, Heather Morris, Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch. Bottom row L-R: Kevin McHale, Mark Salling (floor), Amber Riley, Jenna Ushkowitz, Cory Monteith, Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison in 2011)

Not so Glee-ful: While Glee was easily one of the cheeriest shows to ever grace television screens, behind-the-scenes a murky curse has long-prevailed among its troubled cast and crew (Pictured top row L-R: Chord Overstreet, Harry Shum Jr., Naya Rivera, Dianna Agron, Iqbal Theba, Heather Morris, Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch. Bottom row L-R: Kevin McHale, Mark Salling (floor), Amber Riley, Jenna Ushkowitz, Cory Monteith, Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison in 2011)

CORY MONTEITH’S FATAL DRUG AND DRINK BATTLE 

In what was the start of the show’s behind-the-scenes demise, on 13 July 2013, Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson, was found dead of a drugs overdose aged 31 in his Vancouver hotel room, after taking a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol. Four months before his death he had completed a stint in rehab.   

Cory Monteith played Finn Hudson

Cory Monteith played Finn Hudson

Cory was dating Lea Michele at the time of his death. After news broke of his overdose, it was revealed that Lea rang his mother, hysterical and screaming: ‘Is it true?’ Following his passing, she released a statement.

Through her representative, the actress said: ‘Lea is deeply grateful for all the love and support she’s received from family, friends, and fans. Since Cory’s passing, Lea has been grieving alongside his family and making appropriate arrangements with them. They are supporting each other as they endure this profound loss together.’

Lea, who is expecting her first child with husband Zandy Reich, began dating Cory in 2012, and after his death, she said: ‘There was no greater man than Cory. So, for the time we spent together, I consider myself very lucky.’

Five years after his death, Cory’s mother Ann McGregor insisted her son had been on pain medication following dental work to cap his teeth in the weeks before his overdose and that he ‘never meant to die’. 

She said he had battled his fair share of demons from a young age, drinking and smoking marijuana from 13, and with two stints in rehab by the time he was 19. While he managed to get clean for a time, he fell back into bad habits when he went to Hollywood. 

Ann, who admitted her son began using drugs again in December 2012, seven months before his death, said: ‘He wasn’t ready for the Hollywood world. Drugs were his way of checking out’. After his death, she said: ‘I still can’t pick up the pieces. My world totally stopped. And I’m a different person than I was before.’

Heartbreaking: Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson on the show and dated his co-star Lea Michele up to the time of his death, was found dead of a drugs overdose aged 31 in his Vancouver hotel room (Pictured: Cory and Lea in 2012)

Troubled: Four months before his death Cory had completed a stint in rehab (Pictured: Cory in 2010)

Heartbreaking: Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson on the show and dated his co-star Lea Michele up to the time of his death, was found dead of a drugs overdose aged 31 in his Vancouver hotel room, after taking a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol (PICTURED, LEFT, WITH LEA IN 2012, RIGHT, IN 2010)

MARK SALLING’S HORRENDOUS CHILD PORN CONVICTION AND DEATH 

The most horrific of the show’s woes was undoubtedly Mark Salling’s 2015 arrest and subsequent conviction in 2017 for possession of more than 50,000 images and 600 videos which showed girls, some of whom as young as three, being raped. It was described as ‘the worst pornography collection the nation has seen’. 

Mark Salling played Noah "Puck" Puckerman

Mark Salling played Noah ‘Puck’ Puckerman

Salling, who played Noah ‘Puck’ Puckerman on the show, had tried to conceal them by masking his IP address and storing them on an encrypted hard drive. They were revealed to police by an ex-girlfriend who he showed them to. She was sickened and notified authorities. In his plea deal, the extent of his collection was described in harrowing detail.

He was found dead from suicide by hanging on 30 January 2018 near his home in Sunland, Los Angeles. His death came shortly before his sentencing, which was due to take place on March 7. He had attempted suicide the previous year by slashing his wrists, after which he was treated for psychological problems.

Salling dated Naya from 2007 to 2010. In her 2016 memoir, Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up, the actress admitted that she was not surprised by his horrendous convictions. 

She wrote: ‘I can’t say I was totally shocked. When Mark dumped me, I thought it was the worst thing ever, but can you imagine if that didn’t happen?…

‘And I was laying there in bed when the battering ram came through the door?’

Prior to his death, in January 2013, Salling’s ex-girlfriend Roxanne Gorzela accused him of sexual battery by forcing her to have unprotected sex without consent. He denied the charges and filed a countersuit for defamation. In March 2015, they out of court with judges ordering him to pay her $2.7million.

Horror: The most horrific of the show's woes was undoubtedly Mark Salling's 2015 arrest and subsequent conviction in 2017 for possession of more than 50,000 images and 600 videos which showed girls, some of whom as young as three, being raped (Pictured: Arriving at court in December 2017)

Shocking: He dated Naya from 2007 to 2010. In her 2016 memoir, Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up, the actress admitted that she was not surprised by his horrendous convictions (Pictured: The former couple in 2009)

Horror: The most horrific of the show’s woes was undoubtedly Mark Salling’s 2015 arrest and subsequent conviction in 2017 for possession of more than 50,000 images and 600 videos which showed girls, some of whom as young as three, being raped (PICTURED, LEFT, ARRIVING AT COURT IN DECEMBER 2017, RIGHT, WITH EX NAYA RIVERA IN 2009)

LEA MICHELE’S DRAMA BEHIND THE SCENES 

Lea Michele, who played Rachel Berry on the show, has been plagued with rumours in recent weeks, after a host of cast and crew members have come forth to accuse the leading lady of bullying on-set. 

Accusations of on-set bullying began with a tweet from Lea’s co-star Samantha Ware last month, accusing her of being rude to her on-set and behaving with ‘traumatic microaggressions’. 

Lea Michele played Rachel Berry

Lea Michele played Rachel Berry

Others then piled on to the actress with allegations of their own, including Heather Morris, Dabier Snell and Yvette Nicole Brown. Lea was subsequently dropped by her sponsor, HelloFresh. 

Morris, 33, who played cheerleader Brittany S. Pierce on the Ryan Murphy show, claims Michele was ‘very’ unpleasant to work with, saying: ‘Was she unpleasant to work with? Very much so; for Lea to treat others with the disrespect that she did for as long as she did, I believe she SHOULD be called out.’ 

Lea apologised and said she has ‘never judged others by their background or color of their skin.’ She also insisted she will learn from the mistakes she has made so she ‘can be a real role model for my child’ when she gives birth in a couple of months.  

Naya and Lea famously had on-set friction, with the former writing in her book: ‘One of the Glee writers once said that Lea and I were like two sides of the same battery and that about sums us up. We are both strong willed and competitive – not just with each other but with everyone – and that’s not a good mixture…

 ‘We’re all stressed, yes, but we’re all working toward the same goal, so laugh it off and keep it movin’. Lea was a lot more sensitive, though, and it seemed like she blamed me for anything and everything that went wrong.’ 

Shocker: Lea Michele, who played Rachel Berry on the show, has been plagued with rumours in recent weeks, after a host of cast and crew members have come forth to accuse the leading lady of bullying on-set and has since been dropped as an ambassador for Hello Fresh (pictured promoting the brand)

Shocking: Accusations of on-set bullying began with a tweet from Lea's co-star Samantha Ware (pictured) last month, accusing her of being rude to her on set and behaving with 'traumatic microaggressions'

Shocker: Lea Michele, who played Rachel Berry on the show, has been plagued with rumours in recent weeks, after a host of cast and crew members have come forth to accuse the leading lady of bullying on-set (PICTURED, LEFT, LEA FRONTING HELLO FRESH, RIGHT, SAMANTHA WARE ON GLEE SET)

CREW MEMBERS’ PASSING: ‘WE’VE LOST ANOTHER ONE’ 

Between 2013 and 2014, the show saw three heartbreaking deaths. Three months after Cory’s 2013 death, assistant director Jim Fuller passed away in his sleep, from heart failure. 

Production assistant Nancy Motes

Production assistant Nancy Motes

In Season Four, a subtle shout-out was given to Jim, while Glee cinematographer Joaquin Sedillo wrote on Twitter after his death: ‘This is such sad news. Jim was such a great guy and was so good to me always.’ 

Then in 2014, the cast were left ‘devastated’ by the death of the production assistant Nancy Motes, the sister of Julia Roberts. Nancy died aged 37, after drowning in a bath on February 9, 2014. She was found surrounded by non-prescription and prescription pills, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner. 

She claimed in her suicide note that the actress was so cruel that she ‘drove me into the deepest depression I’ve ever been in’. She described the Oscar-winning star as a ‘so-called sibling’ who should get nothing if she died – except the memory that she pushed her over the edge.

In the handwritten note, which was used as evidence in court amid a legal battle over her estate, Nancy said that Roberts’ abuse had been so bad that ‘I burst into tears because I wake up’.

Following Nancy’s tragic death, fellow production assistant Cristina Lageman spoke to MailOnline about Jim’s death, Nancy’s suicide and the concerns over ‘a curse’ on the show’. 

Cristina said: ‘She was such a good friend to me. It’s just shocking. Yes, she had her own little struggles, but when we got together, we just bonded and she never let them get to her. It’s such a shock, what with Cory passing last year, then we had a crew member, Jim Fuller, die. Now we’ve got this hit and it’s almost too much.

‘Glee was like a family. We spent 12 hours a day together. We would refer to each other as The Glee Family. Colleagues have been posting on Facebook: ‘We’ve lost another one.’ 

Further pain: Production assistant Nancy Motes, the sister of Julia Roberts, died aged 37, after drowning in a bath on February 9, 2014. She was found surrounded by non-prescription and prescription pills, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner (JULIA ROBERTS AND HER SISTER NANCY PICTURED IN 2002)

Further pain: Production assistant Nancy Motes, the sister of Julia Roberts, died aged 37, after drowning in a bath on February 9, 2014. She was found surrounded by non-prescription and prescription pills, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner (JULIA ROBERTS AND HER SISTER NANCY PICTURED IN 2002)

Heartbreaking: She claimed in her suicide note that the actress was so cruel that she ‘drove me into the deepest depression I’ve ever been in’. She described the Oscar-winning star as a 'so-called sibling' who should get nothing if she died - except the memory that she pushed her over the edge

Heartbreaking: She claimed in her suicide note that the actress was so cruel that she ‘drove me into the deepest depression I’ve ever been in’. She described the Oscar-winning star as a ‘so-called sibling’ who should get nothing if she died – except the memory that she pushed her over the edge

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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