Naya Rivera remembered by ‘Glee’ co-stars two years after death

Friday marked two years since Naya Rivera drowned in Southern California’s Lake Piru Reservoir, and the sad anniversary didn’t go unnoticed by her “Glee” co-stars, who took to Instagram to pay tribute to the deceased. actress, singer and modeling.

“Every day my angel. I miss you every damn day,” Heather Morris, 35, wrote a few snapshots of the two IRL friends bobbing around. On “Glee,” the pair played the glee club cheerleading duo, who are eventually revealed to have romantic feelings for each other.

Kevin McHale, 34, who portrayed Artie on the show, posted a photo of Rivera striking a peace sign from the back of what appears to be a motorboat and wrote, “The best there ever was forever & ever ️.”

Amber Riley and Jenna Ushkowitz, both 36, who played Mercedes and Tina on “Glee” respectively, also shared succinct and poignant commemorative messages about the SoCal resident.

Heather Morris (left) and Naya Rivera
“Every day my angel. Miss you every damn day,” Heather Morris (left) wrote below a photo of her and Rivera.

On July 8, 2020, Rivera, 33, disappeared from a rented pontoon boat she’d taken on Lake Piru in Ventura County, California, with her then 4-year-old Josey, for what was an idyllic mother-son afternoon. Instead, Rivera’s body was discovered five days later, her cause of death ultimately turned out to have been an accidental drowning.

Naya Rivera
“The best there ever was was forever and ever ️,” wrote Kevin McHale on an Instagram snap commemorating the late actress.

Josey told investigators a harrowing story, describing how his mother pushed him onto the boat, but was unable to hoist herself back onto the deck, yelling “Help!” before sinking below the surface of the water.

A search-and-rescue diver at the time trying to recover Rivera’s body speculated that high winds over the reservoir — coupled with her lack of a life jacket when jumping off the pontoon and into the lake with a life jacket-clad Josey — may have been involved in the tragedy.

Naya Rivera
Naya Rivera disappeared two years ago from a rented pontoon boat on Lake Piru in Ventura County, California.
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“What I suspect is that the wind is picking up. Those pontoon boats are very light, and if you push them, it can come off of you. She may have tried to swim behind the boat,” the diver, Robert Inglis, told US Weekly, adding that “what contributes to many of the drownings is when people go swimming and they’re not wearing their life jackets.”

Naya Rivera
After Rivera’s accidental drowning in the SoCal reservoir, officials banned swimming in Lake Piru permanently.
Getty Images

“The wind picks up at that lake, and the boats start to get away and you try to go after that boat … you could get a cramp in your legs,” he continued. “If you’re wearing a life jacket, you can rest and someone can go back to pick you up, or call for help or something like that.”

In the days after Rivera’s death, reports surfaced of frequent drownings in Lake Piru. Subsequently, officials permanently banned swimming in the reservoir.

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