***Commentary*** Remembering The Brittany Jane Royal Murder Case

imageIt was Memorial Day one year ago when the parents of Boaz Johnson told Big Island Chronicle they last spoke with their son. It was the day after Memorial Day that fishermen discovered a woman’s strangled body  off the coast of Kalapana.

In the year since, we learned that woman was Brittany Jane Royal, and that she was early on in a pregnancy with a boy she told family members she wanted to name ‘Io.

We learned in the last year that Johnson strangled Royal before hanging himself in a forest bordering Kalapana’s lava field. For six months, however, Johnson’s decomposing body was yet to be discovered, and the community here and beyond -/- this became an internationally recognized story — wondered who killed Royal and where was Johnson. Speculation was rampant and the accusations were paramount. Online forums were active in slandering people and their businesses. Then a hiker happened upon Johnson’s remains in the trees mountainside of Kalapana. Near his body was a composition notebook wrapped up to protect it from the elements. Johnson, in a three-page manifesto, described himself, Royal, and the circumstances that led them to camping together in a tent on the lava. He also described how and why he committed the crime against Royal and the unborn child and why he chose to end his life. At a press conference in February, police referred to Johnson’s manifesto, but said the writing would not be released while the case remained active. To date, police have not announced that the case is closed. In January police expressed an interest in pursuing leads related to Johnson’s phone activity following the time his family publicly stated they last heard from him.  — Tiffany Edwards Hunt

6 replies
  1. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    Akua bless Brittany and her little baby. I must say I am sick and tired of women being murdered in Puna. I have resided in Puna since 1973 and unfortunately,this happens way too often…..I don’t know the comparative statistics….this happens way too often. Dana Ireland was raped and murdered in Waa waa the day before Christmas…my god. And yes , let us not forget the slanderers in this case….blaming the locals when it was really the hippie.The slanderers could apologize and so could the Johnson family….

  2. Handyman
    Handyman says:

    Aloha Brittany’s Mom,

    On Monday, May 26, 2014, I released the ashes of two of my brothers and both of my parents in the Pacific Ocean. Unlike Brittany, they all died of natural causes over a period of 6 years.

    After releasing all the ashes, and while standing waist high in the ocean, I suddenly realized that my cell phone was still in my pocket. Needless to say, my phone was also put to rest. I humorously thought to myself that perhaps my parents, along with both my brothers, would one day give me a ring? Lol

    Later, as I sat on the beach pondering the loss of, (not only my family but also my phone), I realized that I was at the same beach one year ago, where I read in the Hawaii Tribune Herald of the tragedy that occurred to Brittany back home in Kalapana. Looking down at my phone, I also remembered that it was a simple phone call on a cell phone that implicated Boaz as a possible suspect.

    I dwelled on all the drama that followed in the media, of how everyone was a suspect. The finger pointing went on and on…… At that moment, I found myself over whelmed with grief. I decided to release that grief, along with that of my family, at the oceans edge. I got up, walked away, and haven’t looked back.

    My profound condolences to you and your family. I’m certain that Brittany, along with my family, are doing just fine.

    May you find the peace I’ve found.


  3. Briitts MOM
    Briitts MOM says:

    Aloha Handyman!

    Thank you for sharing and condolences for you losses. It’s interesting the signs we get if we just look for them. I try and see Brittany and “Io every day and I do! Just this morning I saw 3 little birds all chirping together. 3 Little Birds was one of Britt’s songs she liked to play on her guitar.

    The past year has been a lot of grief and yes all the speculation and rumors that surrounded her death. I don’t dwell on any of that now, it is in the past. I do know that Brittany and “Io, along with your family are FINE, better than we are here on Earth. Also knowing that Brittany and “Io are together gives me some comfort as well. I have moved on with hate or any kind of resentment. I have heard that resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Know what I mean? Pointless, IMO. Doesn’t mean I forgive Bo for what he did to Britt, but I can accept the tragedy and help others.

    Thanks again for reaching out, I really appreciate the thoughts!


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