Lifeguard discovers body inside barrel at Malibu Lagoon State Beach

ByTim Pulliam, Sid Garcia, and staff KABC logo
Monday, July 31, 2023
Body found inside barrel at Malibu Lagoon State Beach
A lifeguard spotted a barrel in the water at Malibu Lagoon State Beach and dragged it to shore, then discovered a body inside.

MALIBU, Calif. (KABC) -- A homicide investigation is underway after a lifeguard found a man's body inside a barrel at Malibu Lagoon State Beach.

The 55-gallon drum was first observed at the lagoon Sunday afternoon. Sanitation workers spotted it in the water and brought it to shore.

"They got in a kayak and went out to get it, brought it to shore," said Lt. Hugo Reynaga with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "Apparently it was too heavy and they didn't want to open it and they left it on shore."

High tide rolled in around 8 p.m. and carried the drum back into the water. Monday around 10:10 a.m. a lifeguard spotted it floating, swam out and brought it back to shore.

The lifeguard opened the barrel and discovered a male body inside, Raynaga said.

How long the barrel was there - and the cause of death of the person inside - are mysteries for now that will be subject to investigation. Authorities are looking into reports that it was spotted several times over the weekend. They also said the barrel has a printing company chemical label on it.

The body remained inside the barrel for most of the day Monday as investigators processed the scene. It was removed early Monday evening.

Most of the Malibu beach remained open Monday except for the lagoon area where the body was discovered.