Ryan Dorsey has filed a wrongful death suit regarding Naya Rivera’s drowning in Lake Piru last July. He is the ex-husband of the late Glee star as well as the father of her surviving four-year-old son, Josey Dorsey. The defendant in the case is Ventura County, California, where the lake lies.
The complaint argues that 26 drownings have occurred in this lake since it opened in 1959, giving it a “deadly history” of which tourists should be warned.
Moreover, the complaint alleges that proper signage warning of strong currents, low visibility, or strong winds could have prevented Rivera’s accidental death. It also places blame on Parks Management Company from which Rivera rented a pontoon boat on that day. The complaint says the vessel was “not equipped with a safely accessible ladder, adequate rope, an anchor, a radio, or any security mechanisms to prevent swimmers from being separated from their boats.”
On July 8, 2020, Rivera had taken Josey out on the lake in a pontoon boat, then decided to swim. The complaint details what happened next. Warning: they are more even heartbreaking than previously thought.
“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.”
From there, a major search effort began with hopes Rivera might be found alive. Five days later, her remains were recovered in a 30ft-deep area of the lake. Following this tragic news, her friends, colleagues, and fans worldwide mourned her loss and Rivera’s legacy.
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