Naya Rivera’s cause of death: Could Ventura County be found guilty?
The death of Glee actress, Naya Rivera, remains an utter tragedy in the midst of a tragic year. In July 2020, Rivera was reported missing while at Lake Piru with her young son, Josey. Her son was found alone in the boat that they had rented for the day while Rivera was missing. The search took days before her body was eventually recovered from the lake, marking a devastating end to a tragedy.
Naya Rivera’s cause of death was revealed on Tuesday, July 14, the day after her body was discovered. The medical examiner said 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.”
Now, however, Rivera’s ex-husband & father of her son, Ryan Dorsey, Rivera’s estate, and the late actress’s business manager are filing a lawsuit against Ventura County on behalf of Rivera’s 4-year-old son. What’s going on with this lawsuit? Here’s everything that you need to know.
On Tuesday, Nov. 17, the wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Ventura County along with the United Water Conservation District and Parks and Recreation Management. The suit said they allegedly failed to warn visitors about the dangers of Lake Piru and failed to outfit the boat that Rivera and her son rented with required safety equipment.
The complaint, specifically, said that the rented boat did not have the following: floatation or life-saving devices, or a ladder, rope, anchor or other equipment designed to keep swimmers from being separated from their boats. In addition to this, there were no signs warning about dangerous conditions on the lake like high winds, low visibility, and strong currents.
Details on Naya Rivera’s cause of death
In the complaint, attorney Amjad Khan described what Josey remembered of his mother’s death from that day, and it’s pretty haunting. As outlined in the complaint filed in Ventura County Court, Khan wrote:
“While Naya and Josey were swimming, the boat started to be carried away – likely by the current and wind, which gusted up to 21 miles per hour that afternoon. Josey, who was closer, managed to get back on the boat by his own volition and braced himself on the boat, which was rocking back and forth forcefully in the current and wind.
Josey knew Naya was still in the water, and heard her cry, ‘Help! Help!’ in her struggle to get back to the boat and avoid drowning. Josey searched in vain for rope to help his mother get back on the boat. Josey then looked back at the water for his mother and saw that Naya had disappeared. Josey yelled for help and cried alone in the boat until he was found more than an hour later by a PMC boat leasing agent.”
This paints a rather horrifying picture of Rivera’s final moments. The fact that Josey tried to save his mom, but couldn’t due to the boat having been inadequately equipped is definitely extremely haunting. In addition to the wrongful death suit, claims for survival and negligent infliction of emotional distress were also filed on Josey Dorsey’s behalf.
The suit also alleges the defendants named have tried to discredit Naya Rivera and “distract from their own negligence” in her cause of death.
Honestly, though? Lake Piru has a super deadly history where more than two dozen people have drowned over the years. When renting the boat, however, no one warned Rivera of how deadly the lake could be.