The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office has identified a man found dead inside a 55-gallon drum in Malibu Lagoon on Monday.  

The victim is 32-year-old Javonnta Murphy, officials announced Tuesday.

A park maintenance worker first saw the barrel floating in the water near the Pacific Coast Highway bridge on Sunday night, and when they tried to drag it to shore, it was too heavy, so they left it in the water.  

When a lifeguard arrived at work on Monday and spotted the barrel around 10 a.m., they swam to retrieve it. That is when they made the gruesome discovery, according to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. 

“It didn’t look decomposed or like it had been there for a long time,” said Lt. Hugo Raynaga. 

Authorities also added that the high tide may have carried the barrel into the lagoon from the ocean.  

Malibu Lagoon Body
The body was found inside a 55-gallon plastic drum in Malibu Lagoon. July 31, 2023. (KTLA)

Beachgoers and surfers in the area were “deeply concerned” and shocked when they learned of the discovery.  

“It’s something that doesn’t happen very often at all here,” one beachgoer told us Tuesday morning. “It’s unthinkable.”  

Detectives are continuing to search the area for clues, witnesses and surveillance footage that may aid them in the investigation. 

No further information about Murphy was released.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Department. 

Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct a misspelled name.