Heather Morris, Kevin McHale, Amber Riley and more Glee stars are paying tribute to Naya Rivera on what would have been her 34th birthday.
“Happy Birthday, my angel,” Rivera’s former castmate Morris, 33, penned via Instagram on Tuesday. “I can’t write a sappy monologue because it’s just too hard … but I love you and I can’t describe how much I miss you.”
January 12 marks the late star’s first birthday since her tragic passing in July 2020. The mother of one — who shared son Josey Hollis Dorsey with Ryan — was pronounced dead after she went missing in Lake Piru, located in Ventura County, California, nearly five days after she was declared a missing person. The mother-son duo had a day out on the water, but he was later found alone in the boat they had rented.
“[Josey] and Naya swam in the lake together at some point during their journey. It was during that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya,” Sheriff Ayub from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed during a press conference. “He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water. She mustered enough energy to get her son onto the boat but wasn’t able to get herself.”
Following Rivera’s disappearance, a source told In Touch her family was “completely devastated” and “feels like they’re living in a bad dream.”
In November, Josey sued several Ventura County departments for wrongful death, via his dad, and the Step Up star‘s estate.
The suit was filed in Ventura County Superior Court on Tuesday, November 17, against the County of Ventura, Ventura County Parks and Recreation Management and United Water Conservation District for wrongful death and negligent emotional distress, claiming her death was preventable.
Rivera’s estate alleged the pontoon boat, which the California native rented from the county’s Parks and Recreation Management hours before her death on July 8, was “grossly underequipped,” according to documents obtained by In Touch. Lawyers Amjad M. Khan and Jackie K. M. Levien claimed the vessel lacked a “safely accessible ladder, adequate rope, an anchor, a radio or any security mechanisms to prevent swimmers from being separated from their boats.”
The docs further alleged that “the boat was not even equipped with any flotation or lifesaving devices, in direct violation of California law, which requires that all pontoons longer than 16 feet be equipped with flotation devices.”
Keep scrolling to see celebrity tributes on Rivera’s 34th birthday.
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