Five days after the Glee alumna was reported missing, her body was found at Lake Piru in Ventura County, California

By Robyn Merrett
July 14, 2020 06:33 PM
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Naya Rivera's cause of death has been revealed.

On Tuesday, the Ventura County Medical Examiner announced that an autopsy had been conducted and revealed Rivera's cause of death as drowning and the manner of her death was an accident.

"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 medical examiner announced in a press release.

"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. There is no indication from the investigation or examination that drugs or alcohol played a role in [Rivera's] death, but specimens will be submitted for toxicology testing," the press release reads.

The Glee alumna was confirmed dead at age 33 on Monday — five days after she disappeared during a trip to Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. She was reported missing after renting a pontoon boat with her 4-year-old son, Josey Dorsey.

When the boat became overdue for return after its three-hour rental, staff found it at the north side of the lake, with Josey wearing a life jacket, sleeping alone on board. An adult life jacket, believed to be the one provided to Rivera, was still on the boat. One day later, police announced she was presumed dead, maintaining they considered her disappearance to be "a horrible accident."

Naya Rivera
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Authorities searched the waters with the help of dive teams and sonar technology for days, but the murky conditions of the lake complicated their efforts. On Monday morning, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office tweeted that a body had been found in the lake.

"We are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera," Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said in a news conference on Monday afternoon. "It has been an extremely difficult time for her family throughout this ordeal ... our hearts are with them and we share in their grief for Naya’s loss."

Naya Rivera and son Josey
Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Lake Piru has been the site of several drownings over the years, and the actress' disappearance prompted a petition calling for signs warning swimmers of its dangerous conditions. Ayub noted that "swimming is allowed."

Naya Rivera
David Livingston/Getty Images

"He and Naya swam in the lake together," Ayub said of Rivera and her son. "It was during that time that her son described being helped onto the boat by Naya. ... He told investigators he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water."

Ayub later added, "We believe that she mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself."