The Story Behind the “Glee Curse” — Crime, Deaths, and Tragedy

Glee fans were heartbroken after another of the show’s beloved stars was confirmed dead. Naya Rivera — who played the hateful cheerleader with a heart of gold, Santana Lopez — was officially declared dead July 20, 2020. With her passing, people began talking about the cast deaths as part of a Glee curse. Here’s why fans have their theories.

Naya was first declared missing on July 8, 2020. Her four-year-old son, Josey, was found alone on Rivera’s rented boat at Lake Piru in California. When Josey told investigators that his mother never returned to the boat after going into the water, the search was launched. 

After five days of searching, authorities found a body in the lake on July 13, 2020. The body was later confirmed to be Rivera’s and the late actress was officially declared dead. 

Authorities also shared the likely, heartbreaking cause of death. Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub described the personal circumstances: 

“We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point during their journey,” Ayub said. “It was during that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.”

Investigators described what led them to confirm the body as Rivera’s.