Police found the naked body of a 32-year-old man in a barrel on Malibu Lagoon State Beach on Monday.
Authorities said they identified the deceased victim as Javonta Murphy, an aspiring musician from Sylmar, Calif. los angeles times.
— New York Post (@nypost) August 2, 2023
Lifeguards allegedly found a 55-gallon oil drum in the lagoon around 10 a.m. Monday, Lt. Hugo Reinaga said. An examination found Murphy’s body sealed in a barrel and showed no signs of decomposition, The Times reported. (Related: Body of missing 27-year-old banker found in New York waterway)
The barrel’s origin has not been traced, but detectives observed characteristic marks that could be associated with it to a printing company, the paper said.
Murphy’s best friend and fatherly figure, Patrick Nelson, told The Times that Murphy spends his time not rapping in fitness and is a devoted father to his young son. Nelson said the aspiring artist was not known to be a regular visitor to Malibu.
Nelson, devastated and confused by the nature of the situation, told reporters:[h]I was a good boy and a good person. He didn’t gang rape,” the paper noted.
According to the newspaper, Murphy was arrested in 2017 on misdemeanor charges including assault, domestic violence and failing to appear in court. Additionally, Murphy served three days in prison for violating a secrecy order in 2018, the paper noted.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Detectives are now actively investigating Murphy’s specific cause and manner of death, according to The Times.
“Whatever happened to him or whoever did it, I wish there was another way,” Nelson told the magazine.
Due to the unique circumstances of the case, authorities strongly suspect foul play was involved, an unnamed source involved in the investigation claimed.