MALIBU, Calif. — A man whose naked body was found inside a barrel in Malibu, California, last week was shot in the head, a coroner has determined.
The man was identified Wednesday by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office as 32-year-old Javonnta Marshann Murphy but no cause of death was given at the time. The coroner’s case information now lists the cause of death as a gunshot wound to the head, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.
The circumstances that led to Murphy being shot and sealed inside a barrel remain under investigation by the Los Angeles County sheriff’s office.
The 55-gallon black plastic barrel was first spotted July 30 floating in a Malibu lagoon and brought in with a kayak by a maintenance worker, but it was not immediately opened.
The Sheriff’s Department said the barrel was opened July 31 by a lifeguard at Malibu Lagoon State Beach, who had retrieved it after it washed back into the lagoon.
It was not known how long the body had been in the drum.
Patrick Nelson, a family friend, told the Los Angeles Times that Murphy had grown up in South Los Angeles with four brothers and was an aspiring rapper.
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