Puna News — Decomposing Body Found In Kalapana

(Media release) — Hawai?i Island police have initiated a coroner’s inquest case in connection with a body found in Kalapana.

At approximately 2:55 p.m. Thursday (January 2), police received a report from a 34-year-old man, who indicated that he discovered a decomposing body while hiking in a forested area of a lava field at the end of Highway 130 in Kalapana.

Puna Patrol officers responded to the area and confirmed the discovery of a body. 

The Area I Criminal Investigations Section recovered the remains, which were taken to the morgue at Hilo Medical Center. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The identity of the victim is unknown at this time.

Police ask anyone with information about this case to contact Detective Todd Pataray at 961-2382 ortpataray@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

43 replies
  1. Steve.
    Steve. says:

    This report mentions body found in tree.
    We need some serious investigative journalism here. Who is up to the task? Not many on this island evidently.
    If two bodies are missing in kalapane, why doesnt police use cadaver dog from wherever you get such resource? It takes 7 months for a body to be found near where they were missing? Pretty enept. If fbi doesnt get involved now then something is really wrong.

  2. Damon
    Damon says:

    @Britts MOM

    “I read that the body was hanging in a tree?”

    Can you please show me the URL that would post such a stupid thing w/out knowledge of things?

    I’m sorry for your loss… I’m sick and tired of the BS being spread about things.

    I would like to identify folks who are spreading false rumors like the one you have now publicly stated on Tiff’s site.

    Or was this just something that was made up in your head?

    Please show me the URL of someone stating this???

  3. Natec
    Natec says:

    I went to the link above and it states neighbors found body in tree..1. Maybe not true 2. Why does Britts father assume that even if it is Bo,that Bo killed Britt and then hung himself? Those of us who knew Oak from many years ago know he didn’t kill himself and he was found hanging. And poor Diane Washburn was also found hanging and no one who knew her thinks she killed herself..3. It could be the Japanese tourist who got lost in Feb. We could know in a week who the body is (sad) and if it’s Bo I bet anything the police will close the case saying exactly what Royal said: muder/suicide. Never forget that the police didn’t arrest Mathison for his wife’s gruesome murder for 18 months and only because they were forced to.. History is not very pretty here regarding justice..

  4. CSGray
    CSGray says:

    To answer Damon’s rather brusque demand:

    “Police said a hiker found the decomposing body Thursday while hiking in a forested area of a lava field at the end of Highway 130 in Kalapana. Neighbors said it was hanging from a tree.”

    It would seem that Britt’sMom is due an apology for being accused of posting “just something that was made up in your head?” The woman lost her child and unborn grandchild in a really brutal way, how about showing some compassion and civility.

  5. Asa
    Asa says:

    Please do not berate individuals simply because you are obviously incapable of doing some research. I have included the link in which neighbors claim that the body was indeed hanging from a tree. Insulting individuals and claiming that they are ‘making things up’ or spreading BS’ simply because you are unable or too ignorant to find a simple news story online is pretty petty… Furthermore, is the Britts MOM, who commented here Brittany Jane Royals mother? If so, I hope you’re very proud of yourself for insulting an innocent woman whose daughter was brutally murdered and whom now has to deal with an inept and corrupt local police force that doesn’t care…so there you go, Damon, I’ve provided you with a URL. Is an apology to Britts MOM in order? An admission of total ignorance perhaps? Because frankly, your discourse here is pretty disgusting!

  6. Brittany's Mom
    Brittany's Mom says:

    Damon. Did I make this up in my head? Are you F’ing serious? I can read, can you READ?
    As for your weak attempt at a condolence, save it

  7. Edy
    Edy says:

    Damon, the statement that “the body was hanging in a tree”. is on the mainstream media. Look it up.

    “KALAPANA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) –
    Big Island police are investigating the discovery of a body in Kalapana.

    Police said a hiker found the decomposing body Thursday while hiking in a forested area of a lava field at the end of Highway 130 in Kalapana. Neighbors said it was hanging from a tree.”

  8. Asa
    Asa says:

    And guess what Damon? Just opened up my newspaper,’ body found in Kalapana…IN TREE!!’ Apologies? Admission of ignorance?

  9. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    damn,damn this is shocking…i speculated in this newspaper-Big Island chronicle-that the murderer,whoever it may be,may have hung himself from a tree…..or it might be this missing tourist….

  10. Briitts MOM
    Briitts MOM says:

    Yes, I am Brittany’s Mom, my name is Julie. Thank you all for sticking up for me. “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    As for Ted (Brittanys dad) he was misquoted. He said that IF the body is Bo and If it was ruled a suicide. We have no opinion until the DNA and coroners report comes out. Until then we wait patiently, or as much as we can.

  11. Damon
    Damon says:

    Thank you for sharing the link. I trust the police reports over anonymous neighbors reporting to news stations.

    I do apologize to Britt’s Mom for questioning what she read.

    Don’t believe everything you read. Hard for me to believe police reports knowing what I myself have been through.

  12. Hugh Clark
    Hugh Clark says:

    Me thinks that many more folks than Damon may have egg on their face once complicated autopsy is concluded.

  13. Handyman
    Handyman says:

    Aloha Julie Royal,

    It is with sincere regret that someone like Mr. Damon can berate you as he did, and then upon realizing his fault, offer such a weak apology, then walk away feeling redeemed. In no way does Mr. Damon represent the manners of everyone in our community.

    I would like to believe that I speak for most people in our community and offer you our sincere and most profound apology for the behavior of one of the spoiled, uneducated, misguided, no class, barbaric and intellectually deprived few community members we have, as Mr. Damon has so primitively demonstrated.

    I hope that this new discovery evolves into a final closure for both the Royal and Johnson families.


  14. Commenter2
    Commenter2 says:


    1) The body could be Bo’s.

    2) If so, Bo either committed suicide, was murdered, or heck, even something wacko like someone found his body (perhaps had a fatal accident fall, etc), then hung it up. All options (even weird) are open so far, since the police have not released details.

    3) Body could be of the missing tourist.

    4) Body could be of someone else above.


    Damon is mean spirited for posting such off base remarks to Britt’s mom.

  15. Brittany's Mom
    Brittany's Mom says:

    I never wanted or expected an apology. Empty words. The only apology I want is from the people who know what happened and won’t come forward. From the killer of my daughter. Life does not just ‘go on’

  16. rangster
    rangster says:

    There was a body found by a County Firefightger, hanging from a tree along Kamaoa Road in Ka’u this past year, and hearsay says the woman did not hang herself, but was made to look that way by her killer(s). Don’t think I saw a single story anywhere about that gruesome murder.

  17. Brittany's Dad
    Brittany's Dad says:

    Thank you Julie for standing up for me. To all: When we are interviewed it usually lasts up to an hour at times. Some interviews only post 20 seconds of the entire interview. Julie and I have both been partially quoted and will be again I am sure. So don’t believe what you read or see on TV. The media has an agenda, they have to report those statements that get ratings. They cut and paste as they please. But really none of what is posted or on TV means a whole lot. Getting Brit’s…and possibly Bo’s killer (s) is all that means anything!!! So just be aware that the media has their job…We have ours….to find the Truth!

  18. Handyman
    Handyman says:

    Aloha Brittany’s Mom,

    My reference that “Life goes on” was also (only) a reply to Damon’s “Pffft!” remark. It was in no way meant to take away from the tragedy you are presently experiencing.

    I’m sure the truth will eventually be revealed, giving you a little sense of closure. I’m also sure that you will continue to greave for your loss. It is simply the love of a loving parent.

    I too loss a child, and I still grieve.

    May the powers that be, bless you with the strength and serenity to see this to its end.


  19. NeighborWatch
    NeighborWatch says:

    LOL Again Dameon sticks a size 12 in his flappin yapper.
    It ought to shoved up…LOL
    oh and I love how he slips “his experience” with the cops. Who cares? Story isn’t about you tard.
    Damon da Bellingham Boob. Sad.

  20. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    hugh clarks comment about the autopsy results-i think, even if the coroner says it is bo’s body hanging from a tree….there will be many many people saying its a frame job.people come into their investigations of any matter,whether it be gmos,geothermal or murder with their own mindset,frame of mind experiences, beliefs etc…police detectives,as far as i know ,are not allowed to interject their own beliefs in an investigation…what i think is going on is that many do not believe that a vegan,harmless so called hippie could commit such a crime…i am reminded that buddha says there is good and evil in all of us…and damn i really do resent the slamming -often racist slurs against local people–it seems people are overly bringing in their personal agendas into this very serous discusion….sure i have my own agendas…as far as i know-again-both mitch roth and chief kubojiri have excellent reputations and are true proffesionals and so far only one man has been identified as the suspect….i have had my run ins with the local cops before-over marijuauna issues…and IN THE PAST some of the hpd maneuvers and tactics have been less than excellent to put it mildly…however todays cops in general are a good bunch…want to improve the local police force? attend a police commisision hearing as i have in the past…and if police say esp. after the autopsy that this one man is the culprit…i believe them

  21. Kit
    Kit says:

    Firstly, I doubt seriously if this body is Bo. But just to speculate, even if an autopsy were to prove it is, it could never in a million years prove him to be the “culprit.” I can’t even go back down to Kalapana since the murders…the spirit of Aloha has been tainted for me. I hope someday the truth will be revealed.

  22. Kit
    Kit says:

    Oh, and as far as trusting in the investigation, one never really knows, do we? People lie for a variety of reasons, and compassion for rotting bodies is always low.

  23. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    the spirit of aloha doesn’t get tainted.
    violence, murder, happens everywhere.
    Pahoa has plenty aloha, and also violence, murder.
    same everywhere. hilo, et al.
    may i n u be the aloha.
    dangerous, in any case, to romanticize Kalapana, or Hawaii in general. Its part of the colonization.

  24. Brittany's Dad
    Brittany's Dad says:

    The aloha spirit is alive and even better as far as I am concerned! Who knew that such wonderful folks would care about two kids who many never knew. To me that is the definition of aloha…at least from a tourist/grieving parents point of view. I will always take away the good from this horrible event. One person did this I believe to my daughter and grandchild. That in no way takes anything away from the beauty of the land or its people and their culture. Just my 2 cents here.

  25. CIA
    CIA says:

    No one mentioned the letter that the Royal family received (unless that news bit online was BS). Supposedly Brittany and Bo were killed because they refused to pay $1000 a week to the “local Hawaiian Mafia”. Bo was going to set up a lava tour business and the locals didn’t like the haoles moving in. I live very close to the Kamaoa Road hanging and yes, there was next to no information in the news about the hanging. I am Portuguese woman married to a hapa Hawaiian man and we live in Kau, not in HOVE. Puna will always be wild and dangerous. If you don’t look local you are assumed to be haole.

  26. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    Hawaii is part of the COLONIALIZATION….and its repercussions are certainly felt to this day and certainly seen in this blog.Aloha is alive and well in Puna….i have lived in Puna 40 years now and ther are many many outstanding people with aloha

  27. Kit
    Kit says:

    I agree, it’s dangerous to romanticize about Kalapana, and Uncle’s weathered words of Aloha Spirit have been torn and sullied by reality. Greed can turn even an angel toward to dark side.

  28. NeighborWatch
    NeighborWatch says:

    Nah, I goin say I see/got plenty aloha. Wen I go down Pohiki and hang with friends, kick it, eat….etc. I don’t see anything but aloha. I think in the last 15 years I see maybe one fight but it was more like one dance between cocks.

    Sure there are idiots (like narcissistic Damon) and assholes (Like that inartistic chicken man), on this island and on the road everyday, but anytime you feel like this is a violent place, may I suggest a couple weeks in Oakland or Watts?, to remind you of how sweet it is here?

    I’ve lived in Detroit. Atlanta. L.A. and Vegas.
    Hilo is SWEET! Hello?
    If you look like a bigger threat than the threat, then the threat goes elsewhere and is no longer a threat. And if you don’t know how to use your innate 6th sense, get a dog.
    Plenty people give away their family pet everyday on craigslist, disgusting.

    I’m still gonna go with a serial killer, because there is a long chain of unsolved disappearances. Too bad life ain’t like TV huh? Wip out that ol’CSI and solve them all before Easter. Se La Vie

    and to whomever it was in the tree, RIP,
    maybe someday we’ll see, who’s puttin people in trees.

  29. Handyman
    Handyman says:

    Aloha Brittany’s Dad,

    Thank you for your confirmation that “Aloha” in fact still thrives in Hawaii. It’s the few community members that I mentioned in my earlier post, that diminish the true Aloha that exist here.

    But Aloha is in the aina (land), kamakani (wind), ua (rain) and the kama’aina (Hawaiian people),……whether they are of blood or soul, and the few cannot take that away, Aloha is eternal.

    We ask the power that be, to bring both families involved with this tragedy, the truth, so both families can begin to heal and move forward towards the years of their twilight.

    With my most profound sincerity, Aloha.

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