The body of a naked man was found inside a barrel in Malibu on Monday and homicide detectives are investigating the circumstances around the death, authorities said.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office has identified the victim is 32-year-old Javonnta Murphy.

The barrel was first spotted over the weekend but it wasn’t opened until Monday morning, Lt. Hugo Reynaga of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide bureau said at a news conference.

A maintenance worker from a state park saw the black plastic 55-gallon drum floating in the Malibu lagoon Sunday afternoon and brought it in with a kayak, Reynaga said.

“Apparently it was too heavy and they didn’t want to open it, so they left it on shore,” Reynaga said.

Shortly after 10 a.m. Monday, a lifeguard at Malibu Lagoon State Beach noticed the same barrel back in the lagoon, swam out and brought it ashore, opened it and saw the body inside, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

It wasn’t clear where the barrel originated.

“At about 8 p.m., there’s a high tide here and there’s a possibility that the container could have come in from the ocean and then got stuck in the lagoon — but we don’t know,” Reynaga said.

There was no immediate word on the age of the man or how long the body had been in the drum.

However, “from what I did see it didn’t look to me like it was decomposed or had been there a long time,” Reynaga said.

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...