Dot-Marie Jones remembered the late Naya Rivera during a recent interview on The Talk.
“She was a gift,” Jones, who acted alongside Rivera on Glee, told the hosts while wiping away tears. “It’s hard to fathom, you know?….It’s heartbreaking. It’s one of those things you see on the news and then it’s like, ‘God bless those people.’ And now, we’re those people.”
Rivera was found dead in California’s Lake Piru on Monday, July 13. The recovery of her body came five days after the actress, who played Santana Lopez on the show, went missing while boating with her 4-year-old son Josey.
Authorities, who conducted an extensive search for Rivera, later spoke to the child, who was found alone in the boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Josey, who had gone swimming with Rivera, “described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him on to the deck from behind.” In addition, Ayub said Josey “told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.”
“There are a lot of currents on the lake that appear particularly in the afternoon,” Ayub added. “We believe it was mid-afternoon when she disappeared, the idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting, it was unanchored, and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.”
The Ventura County Medical Examiner later determined the cause of death to be drowning and the manner of death to be an accident.