Published On: Thu, Jun 10th, 2021

Naya Rivera’s Father Speaks About Their ‘Heartbreaking’ Final FaceTime Call

“Glee” actress Naya Rivera's father is sharing details of his “heartbreaking” final FaceTime call he had with his daughter mere hours before her death.

Naya had been sailing across the waters of a lake outside Los Angeles on a rented pontoon on July 8 when she decided to give George Rivera a call. She wanted to ask his advice. 

“She would always bounce stuff off me,” George told People. “And she wanted to go swimming with Josey [her then 4-year-old son] out in the middle of the lake.”

The boat, however, did not have an anchor and George immediately knew it was a bad idea and tried to discourage her from jumping into the lake. 

“I could see that the wind was blowing and my stomach was just cringing,” he recalled. “I kept telling her, ‘Don't get out of the boat! Don't get out of the boat! It will drift away when you're in the water.'”

Their call cut out after about three minutes. That was the last time he would see his daughter alive or hear her voice.

“It was just heartbreaking,” he said. “I had this bad feeling that was just killing me.”

Hours later the boat was discovered with Josey in it, fast asleep. Naya was missing. Her body was found five days later floating in a remote section of the lake by Ventura County search and rescue divers. It was established that she had drowned while trying to get Josey back to the boat after the two went swimming. 

“It's still pretty much a big blur of pain almost a year later,” George said. “Things are slowly coming a little more into focus, but I don't know if I'll ever find closure from this. I miss her every day.”

Coming to terms with Naya's death has been a struggle for George, who vented his frustrations earlier this year when he blasted Naya's former “Glee” boss for not sticking to his promise of setting up a college fund for Josey. Ryan Murphy announced the gesture in the days following Naya's drowning but George said the producer has not followed through.

“Everyone needs to know what Ryan Murphy really did … or didn’t do !!!” George tweeted.

“When you are part of the Hollywood elite, some people treat others as they are ‘less than’ …. vocalize a good game , but it’s as shallow as the sets on stage, that they create,” he continued.

In a follow-up tweet, George added: “Broken Promises….. fake outrage …. hollow gestures ….. no phone call.”

Responding to the accusations, Murphy said in a tweet that he remained committed to creating a college fund for Josey and has been in “repeated conversations” with the executors of Naya's estate.

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