SAN DIEGO – The nude body of a woman from Southern California was found strangled and floating in the waters off Hawaii by a fishing boat, homicide detectives said.
Police ruled the death of 25-year-old Brittany Jane Royal a homicide after her body had “visible injuries with ligature marks around the whole neck area” when it was found in the waters off Kalapana on May 28.
Royal was last seen on May 27 camping with her boyfriend Boaz “Bo” Johnson, who is also the father of her unborn child, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.
The grandparents of Royal grapple with unanswered questions in the murder of their granddaughter.
“They saw boot prints,” said her grandmother and namesake, Jane Spahn.”Her body was dragged, her blonde hair came off on the rocks and was left on lava fields before she was dumped over the cliffs.”
On May 30, police searched a campsite in a lava field where the couple was staying. Police found two clothesline, one with clothes hanging from it and the other was “cut with nothing attached to it,” the Tribune-Herald reported. “Several items of clothing hanging…possible trace blood evidence on these items.”
Investigators said “bundled nylon fiber-type rope” was found inside the tent and “the width of the rope was consistent with the marks found on the body.”
Also found near the campsite were a backpack, cell phone, knife and an Alaska state ID with the name Boaz Johnson, according to a search warrant obtained by the Tribune-Hearld.
Johnson has been considered a missing person. Detectives have not excluded him as a suspect in the murder of Royal.
Julie Royal, the victim’s mother, told Fox5 that her daughter was a lifelong traveler and very trusting – which could have lead someone to take advantage of her.
“I go back and forth and I really don’t know what to think anymore,” she said.
Brittany’s grandfather, who just met Johnson before the couple left for Hawaii, said he had a solid feeling about him and thought he seemed like a very caring person.
“Did he have it in him? In the short time that we met him I would say no. He didn’t seem to have a vicious streak in him,” her grandfather said.