Naya Rivera’s father George reveals that she FaceTimed him before her death: ‘It was heartbreaking.’
Naya Rivera died tragically last July after drowning while on a boat trip with her young son Josey on Lake Piru, just outside Los Angeles.
And now her father George, 64, has revealed that his daughter FaceTimed him shortly before her death to ask for his advice on whether it was safe to swim.
“She was always bouncing things off me,” George said People magazine. “And she wanted to go swimming with Josey in the middle of the lake.”
Devastating: Naya Rivera tragically passed away last July after drowning while on a boat trip with her young son Josey. Her father George recently revealed that she FaceTimed him before her death to ask if it was safe to swim; seen in 2019
After Naya told him the boat had no anchor, George said he had strongly warned her not to go swimming.
During the conversation, George, who has boating experience, realized that the conditions were not safe. “I could see the wind blowing and my stomach cringing,” George said.
“I kept telling her, ‘Don’t get out of the boat! Don’t get out of the boat! It will float away when you’re in the water.'”
Sad: After Naya told him the boat had no anchor, George said he strongly warned her not to go swimming
George said their call dropped after about three minutes and his instincts told him something was wrong.
“It was just heartbreaking,” he told People. “I had a bad feeling that killed me.”
A few hours later, Josey, who was then four, was found alone in the pontoon boat with his life jacket on. The Glee actress was reported missing on July 8, the day of their field trip.
The next day, the Ventura Country Sheriff’s Department confirmed that the rescue had become a rescue attempt. George, Naya’s mother Yolanda, her stepfather Charles Previtire, her brother Mychal, her ex-husband Ryan Dorsey and Glee co-star and boyfriend Heather Morris all took part in the search.
Tragic: A few hours after Naya’s FaceTime conversation with George, Josey, who was then four, was found alone in the pontoon boat with his life jacket on and his mother went missing
Naya’s body was recovered on July 13 and the autopsy concluded that the actress had died from drowning. During their outing, Naya and Josey went for a swim. He told police that she was not wearing a life jacket at the time. Josey said she could help him climb back into the boat, but couldn’t get in until she disappeared under the water.
“It’s still a great fit of pain almost a year later,” George said, trying not to cry. ‘It’s slowly coming into focus, but I don’t know if I’ll ever find a conclusion to this. I miss her every day.’
Naya started acting at the age of four, but her big break came in 2009 when she was cast as cheerleader Santana Lopez on Fox’s hit show Glee. She was married to Dorsey, 37, from 2014 to 2018. She gave birth to Josey in September 2015.
Heartbreaking: Josey said his mom could help him climb back into the boat, but couldn’t get in before she disappeared under the water
In December 2020, a source told People“Ryan is very busy keeping Naya’s memory alive. He often says to Josey, “Mommy would have liked that.”
Last Mother’s Day, Dorsey posted a sweet tribute to Naya on his Instagram page. He shared a photo of Naya and Josey smiling in front of a bowl of ice cream.
“We can’t say the word happy, but we will thank you for being a mother and giving me this sweet wonderful boy. #mothersday,” he captioned the post, adding red and black heart emojis.
In Honor of Naya: Last Mother’s Day, Dorsey posted a sweet tribute to Naya on his Instagram page. He shared a photo of Naya and Josey smiling over a bowl of ice cream
Commemorating her: In December 2020, a source told People: “Ryan wants to keep Naya’s memory alive. He often says to Josey: “Mommy would have liked that”‘