Photo: Getty
  /  06.09.2021


Naya Rivera’s father George spoke with his daughter via FaceTime on the same afternoon that she passed away, he revealed to PEOPLE. Last July, Naya tragically drowned while taking a boat trip on Lake Piru with her young son, Josey.

George told the outlet that Naya called him looking for advice during the outing. The 33-year-old actress wanted to go swimming in the lake, but explained to her father that the boat she rented didn’t have an anchor.

“She would always bounce stuff off me and she wanted to go swimming with Josey out in the middle of the lake,” he explained. “I could see that the wind was blowing and my stomach was just cringing. I kept telling her, ‘Don’t get out of the boat! Don’t get out of the boat! It will drift away when you’re in the water.’”

Around three minutes into the call, Naya’s FaceTime failed and their conversation was cut short.

“It was just heartbreaking,” George recalled. “I had this bad feeling that was just killing me.”

Sadly, Josey was later found by himself asleep on the boat around 4 p.m. local time. After a search by rescue divers and Ventura County officials, Naya’s body was found in the river. The Ventura County Medical Examiner determined that after swimming in the lake, the “Glee” star exhausted herself while struggling to get her 4-year-old son back on the boat.

The Ventura sheriff added that the lake’s currents could have played a role in Naya’s drowning, saying that she “mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.”

“It’s still pretty much a big blur of pain almost a year later,” George told PEOPLE. “Things are slowly coming a little more into focus, but I don’t know if I’ll ever find closure from this. I miss her every day.”

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