Naya Rivera’s mother and sister remember the fateful day of the Joy the star’s accidental drowning – a year ago – and the aftermath as they waited for her body to be recovered.
Yolanda Previtire said Thursday Hello america as her daughter faced her from the rented pontoon boat she and her son, Josey Dorsey, were on in Lake Piru, Calif. on July 8, 2020. died at the age of 33 after bringing Josey to safety. Nickayla Rivera, the star’s younger sister, also opened up about helping raise Josey with Naya’s ex-husband Ryan Dorsey.
“I missed two of her FaceTime calls and called her back,” recalls Previtire. “I said, ‘Naya, where are you?’” She said Naya explained that she wanted to take Josey fishing. “We had a lovely conversation. The sun was kissing her face and she was just gorgeous. She was wearing a gorgeous white swimsuit and she was shining.”
Previtire took screenshots on the call to capture Josey fishing, she said. However, as they got off, she told her daughter, “The water is getting rough” and urged Naya to move the boat to a cove where the water could be “a little calmer”.
Before logging out, Previtire said, “I love you” and “Call me when you get out of the water.”
Previtire said hours later, two detectives came to his door to tell him that Josey was safe, having been found alone in his life jacket on the drifting boat, but Naya was missing.
“It was almost like a force,” she said, absorbing the news. “I don’t know what it was, but I literally got pushed back. I just ran back, if you can imagine, screaming and ended up in the bathroom. slammed the door, I was on the floor. “
Nickayla said the days that followed as search teams scoured the lake were “absolute hell”, despite the support of fans and Joy stars praying from the shore.
Previtire said the screenshots she took were used by investigators who examined “the topography” to determine exactly where Naya had sailed.
When Naya’s body was found on July 13, Nickayla said it was “a relief, in a way” after five hellish days of fruitless searching.
Previtire said she received a call regarding retrieving Naya’s body as she baked pancakes for Josey to take a break from constant vigil by the lake.
As Dorsey shared, Josey asked Nickayla to move in with them after Naya died.
“I am very grateful to be able to help him make the transition to where he will be next,” said the model. “I just knew when it happened, right when we got it, I knew the role I had to take on. It was a big change, and something I had to get used to as well.”
Previtire reports that his grandson “Naya in the form of a boy”. Josey, who enters kindergarten in the fall, loves to entertain, especially singing, and has a true “adventure for life” as the star did.
Nickayla said they come to life “one day at a time” as they go through their grief. “And take it one day at a time and live it to the fullest, love each other to the fullest and have no regrets. Because I know if we could go back, we would kiss a little bit harder.”
Previtire revealed that the family is in therapy to deal with the shared trauma. She said they don’t tiptoe around Josey, noting that “she misses her mother” and “remembers their life together.”
Naya was buried on July 24. Investigators decided her death was due to accidental drowning. Josey told investigators they jumped together to swim. It was speculated that the boat began to drift while the two were in the water. The boy also said that Naya had put her on the boat, but he heard her cry out “help” before she disappeared into the water. He was later found asleep on the boat in his life jacket.
Naya was not in a life jacket when her body was discovered. Her autopsy revealed that Naya was a “good swimmer”. However, there were high winds of 21 mph the afternoon she disappeared. It was also noted that she had vertigo, the feeling that you or your surroundings were spinning or moving, “it would get worse when she was in the water”.
Naya’s ex Dorsey shares their son’s updates on social media and has vowed the boy will grow up knowing “his mum loved him more than life.”
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