MALIBU, Calif. – Law enforcement officials in California are trying to find out what killed a man and how his body was stuffed in a 55-gallon drum.
The man’s remains were found in the barrel when a lifeguard at a beach in Malibu saw something floating offshore, CNN reported.
The barrel was first found by a state park maintenance worker who saw it floating in a lagoon on Sunday afternoon. The lagoon is near the Pacific Coast Highway bridge, KTLA reported. Using a kayak, the worker dragged the barrel back onshore but left it unopened.
“Apparently it was too heavy and they didn’t want to open it and they left it on shore,” Lt. Hugo Reynagna with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, told KABC.
The drum was swept back into the water during high tide.
There had been several calls saying that they had seen the barrel floating in the lagoon over the weekend.
At 10 a.m. Monday, a lifeguard who saw it swam out to the barrel, brought it back to shore and then opened it because it was unusually heavy, the Los Angeles Times reported. That’s when the lifeguard found what officials called a “non-responsive” person. Paramedics and sheriffs deputies responded and the man in the barrel was declared dead at the scene, CNN reported.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the remains are those of a Black adult man but they don’t know how long the man was in the drum, as the remains did not seem significantly decomposed. There was also no blood splatter or signs of violence. He also was not wearing any clothing.
Authorities are now trying to find out the cause of death, KABC reported.
Investigators told KTLA that the barrel may have entered the lagoon from the ocean with the tide carrying it in. But the Times reported that officials are also looking at security video to see if there are any clues surrounding the barrel’s appearance.