Former Glee actor Naya Rivera raised her arm and called for help as she drowned while boating with her son, according to a post-mortem report.
Rivera, best known for playing Santana Lopez on TV musical-comedy Glee from 2009 to 2015, had been with her four-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, on Lake Piru, northwest of Los Angeles, on 8 July.
The report by the Ventura County Medical Examiner said the 33-year-old had helped her son back into the boat after swimming and he had noticed her “put her arm up in the air and [yell] ‘help'” before she “disappeared in to the water”.
The boy was found sleeping on the boat later that afternoon and Rivera’s body was found floating in the lake five days later.
Rivera “knew how to swim well”, according to the report, and the man who had rented her the boat said she declined a life jacket – he had put one on the boat anyway.
The report also revealed Rivera had previous problems with vertigo, a recent sinus infection and a small amount of prescribed amphetamines in her system, but none of these were described as factors in her death.
She also had also taken small amounts of an anti-anxiety drug and an appetite suppressant.
After her body was found, Sheriff Bill Ayub had said Josey told detectives the pair went swimming and she boosted him onto the deck before he looked back to see her disappear under the water.
The sheriff said their theory was that the boat drifted as they swam and she “mustered enough energy to get her son on board, but not enough to save herself”.
Rivera’s body was found seven years after Glee co-star Cory Monteith died at 31 from alcohol and heroin.
Another Glee star, Mark Salling, killed himself in 2018 at age 35 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.