MALIBU— The body of a man was discovered inside of a 55 gallon oil drum that was floating in the water of Malibu Lagoon State Beach on Monday, July 31, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau’s Lieutenant Hugo Reynaga said at a news conference.
According to Lt. Reynaga, the black barrel, was first spotted floating in the lagoon around 3 p.m. on Sunday, by a maintenance worker from the state park. The worker kayaked out to the barrel and brought it to shore but refrained from opening it because it was “too heavy.” It was left on the shore.
By Monday morning, around 10 a.m., a lifeguard noticed the barrel floating out again in the lagoon, and swam out to it and brought it onto the beach. They then opened the barrel and discovered the body.
By 10:30 a.m., LASD Homicide Bureau investigators arrived at the scene at the 23300 block of Pacific Coast Highway. By the afternoon, the barrel – still containing the body – was covered with an easy-up tent while investigators waited for officials from the coroner’s office to arrive.
The beach was sectioned off for hours, but beach-goers were still swimming and enjoying the beach about 100 yards away, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Whether the barrel floated into the lagoon from the ocean, or washed out from the shore, is unclear at this time.
“At about 8 p.m., there’s a high tide here,” Lt. Reynaga said, “and there’s a possibility that the container could have come in from the ocean and then got stuck in the lagoon — but we don’t know.”
“It didn’t look, to me, like the body was decomposing or had been there awhile,” Lt. Reynaga said.
The identity and cause of death of the victim has not yet been disclosed. This investigation remains ongoing and homicide investigators will reportedly be canvassing nearby camera footage to search for clues, the Los Angeles Times reported.