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Naya Rivera’s Death Officially Ruled An Accidental Drowning

The "Glee" star is believed to have drowned after getting her son safely on board the boat they rented at California's Lake Piru.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
Body Found Amid Search For 'Glee' Star Naya Rivera

"Glee" star Naya Rivera’s cause of death has been officially ruled an accidental drowning.

Rivera, 33, disappeared last Wednesday during a boating trip with her 4-year-old son at Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. Following days of extensive searching, Rivera’s body was found on Monday, officials said during a press conference earlier this week. The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office has since confirmed that Rivera’s body was positively identified using dental records and other common methods; an autopsy was completed and officials have concluded that her death was an accidental drowning.

“The autopsy findings are consistent with a drowning and the condition of the body is consistent with the time that she was submerged,” reads a press release shared on social media Tuesday. “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.”

Rivera is believed to have rented a pontoon boat with her young son on Wednesday afternoon shortly before she went missing. After the pair failed to return to the rental facility on time, the child was found asleep and alone on the boat; he later told authorities that he saw his mother disappear into the water and not come back up.

Authorities launched an extensive search involving experienced divers, dogs, and sonar technology; that search came to an end on Monday, when divers located her body. Ventura County Sheriff William Ayub speculated that Rivera and her son were in the water in the afternoon, a time when currents are more likely to develop; Rivera likely boosted her son onto the boat, and to safety, but ran out of energy afterward, he said.

“She mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself,” Ayub said.

Rivera’s loved ones, including many of her “Glee” co-stars, gathered on the shore of the lake following the discovery of her body to mourn together, according to Page Six. "Glee" creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan also announced on Tuesday that they would be creating a college fund for Rivera’s son.

In their first statement since her death, Rivera’s family thanked authorities for their hard work and asked for privacy as they grieve, Deadline reports.

“We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week,” their statement reads, in part. “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.”

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