Singer-Songwriter Javonnta Murphy Identified as Body Found in Barrel at Malibu Beach

Javonnta Murphy (Credit: Instagram/@sir_tanky2023)

Aspiring singer-songwriter and rapper Javonnta Murphy has been identified as the person found dead inside a barrel this week on a beach in Malibu, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said Wednesday.

Murphy, 32, was from Los Angeles, according to his Instagram page. He went by the stage name “Tank” and had several songs on Spotify.

On the morning of Monday, July 31, lifeguards spotted a 55-gallon drum floating in a lagoon at Malibu State Park, in the 23200 block of Pacific Coast Highway.

“They pulled it to shore and inside they discovered a deceased human body,” Sgt. Christopher Soderlund of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department told KTLA-TV.

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Authorities said park employees noticed the barrel the previous night. They got in a kayak and brought it to shore. But because it was so heavy, they did not open the barrel and left it to be retrieved in the morning.

Lifeguards opened the barrel around 10:30 a.m. the next morning and saw the body inside. They alerted law enforcement and investigators descended on the beach.

The area was filled with tourists and beachgoers at the time.

Detectives said the body had not yet decomposed in the summer heat and wasn’t there for very long.

Coroner’s online records listed Murphy’s place of death as the beach and said the case was still open as of Wednesday afternoon. Although some online reports suggested the tide may have carried the barrel into the lagoon from the ocean. A cause of death has not yet been determined.

As news of his death spread, friends and fans filled Murphy’s Instagram page with condolences.

“So heartbreaking to hear the news …so young,” one person wrote.

“RIP. Condolences to his family. Hope they get some justice,” another person penned.

“The story of you is still yet to unfold. I am so sorry to your family and friends,” someone else wrote.

The case remains under investigation.

Law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that investigators suspect foul play because the barrel was sealed and the man inside was naked.

The Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau asked anyone with information to give them a call at 323-890-5500. Anonymous callers may call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or send tips to lacrimestoppers.org.