(VitalNews.org) – A lifeguard on duty at a beach in Malibu, California, found a dead man stuffed inside a barrel on Monday, July 31st. The 55-gallon drum had been brought to shore by a local maintenance worker the previous afternoon at around 3 pm but had been swept back out to sea without having been opened, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Lt. Reynaga told reporters that the worker had retrieved the barrel with the use of a kayak but did not want to handle it further and left it, still closed, on the shore. The following morning the barrel was again brought to shore by the lifeguard who opened it and discovered the body of a naked, deceased black man.
The man has since been identified as Javonnta Murphy, a 32-year-old singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. The cause of death has not been made public as yet, although his death is being investigated by Los Angeles homicide detectives. The police department told reporters that although they cannot confirm an exact time of death, his body was not in a state of decomposition.
There has also been speculation about where the barrel entered the water originally. Lt. Reynaga explained that with the local tidal system, there is the possibility that the barrel came towards the Malibu shoreline after being dumped further out in the ocean, but there is no certainty about this theory at this stage.
Javonnta Murphy’s family have taken to social media to express their shock and sadness, and to plead for any information members of the public might have relating to Murphy’s death. Since the news of the musician’s death broke, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has received numerous calls about the barrel, including from the former Mayor of Malibu, Jefferson Wagner. Wagner was just one of several people who say that they saw the barrel floating in the ocean over the course of the weekend. He explained that he had initially suspected it might be hazardous waste and described the discovery of the body as disturbing and sad.
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